Sometimes it can seem to a regulated industry that it is the regulation which is the end in itself, rather than the outcomes which it should be designed to deliver.
Good regulation will deliver beneficial outcomes at least cost to the regulated. And given the integrated nature of water systems (river catchments etc) the regulatory regimes must complement each other, so that discharges and abstractions are both recognised as having value. For the water industry in England and Wales there are three regulators to deal with, but their responsibilities can align for positive outcomes...
- Responsible for managing the rivers, lakes, estuaries, groundwaters and coastal waters of England and Wales, and applying and refining the regulatory tools available to deliver for society, the economy and the environment
- Promoted (successfully) the view that the system for managing water abstraction was not fit for purpose for the future, and required fundamental reform in order to help abstractors adapt to changing demands and climate change impacts
- Deregulated all low risk abstractions, and promoted the need for a catchment-based approach to abstractions and discharges as a more cost-effective, flexible and resilient response to increasing pressures
- Worked with the economic regulator Ofwat, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, to ensure a joined up approach to regulation of the water industry
- Carried out a review of global approaches to water quality regulation and relative stringency for a major international client