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Water resources and drought management

Water resources

Each and every day we need to ensure that we manage water resources across Yorkshire.

We work hard to monitor and manage the network every day to make sure everyone has exactly what they need, using our innovative water supply grid to move water to where it's most needed.

Take a look below to read more about our water resources management plan and what we would do when the worst happens.

Balancing Yorkshire's water resources

We have a 31,500 kilometers network of underground pipes that allow us to move water around the whole of Yorkshire.

This gives us flexibility to take less water from areas experiencing low rainfall and reduce our impact on the environment. To make sure we have enough water for our customers, we make plans for now and the future:

• To maintain a supply of water in dry weather, we have developed a drought plan to demonstrate actions we can take
• To ensure we have enough supply to meet future demand, we have created a water resources management plan.

Our Drought Plan and Water Resources Management Plan are available to read below.

You can also find information on Water Resources North on this page.

Water Resources North

Water Resources North is a new group that is designed to oversee water resources planning for Yorkshire and the North East of England. Our ambition is to be a national leader for water resource management. By doing this, we will help to facilitate sustainable growth across Yorkshire, the Humber and the North East, in support of the ambition of the Northern Powerhouse. Water Resources North will ensure that the region has a sustainable, long-term plan for water resources that protects our region’s resilience in the face of challenges such as climate change and population growth. We will work with other regions to help secure resilient water supplies for the country as a whole.

Although the core of the group is formed, and funded, by Yorkshire Water, Northumbrian Water and Hartlepool Water, Water Resources North will engage with, and actively involve, all of those who have an interest in water resources in our region. This will include sectors other than public water supply who make beneficial use of the water in our environment, such as agriculture, industry and energy. The importance of water to our region’s environment, ecology and biodiversity will also play a key role in shaping our future plans.

Over the next couple of years, Water Resources North will be working with customers, water dependent sectors of the economy, other stakeholders such as environmental groups and regulators, to shape a long-term plan for managing water resources in the region. Where this plan impacts on public water supply, it will be reflected in water companies’ statutory Water Resource Management Plans in 2024. Where this plan affects other sectors, we will look to work with those sectors to understand how they can also support long term water resources resilience in the north, including looking for opportunities for collaborative solutions.

In March 2020 we published our Initial Resources Position, which is available via the link below. This report is the first publication from Water Resources North. Building on information included in the WRNF and data from companies’ Water Resources Management Plans 2019, it sets out the current resource position for Water Resources North. As well as setting out our resources position, this report describes our initial thoughts on environmental ambition, and how we will engage with other sectors in a way that is useful and meaningful to the water resources planning process, so that we can create a plan that is relevant to our region and it reflects its priorities.

Drought plan

All water companies are required by the Government to produce a drought plan, which sets out what we would do to maintain water supplies to customers in the event of a drought.

As all droughts are different in terms of location, extent, severity and impact on the supply system our Drought Plan needs to be flexible to account for a range of possible scenarios. The plan therefore gives an agreed framework of actions to allow a drought to be best managed dependent on conditions.

Our Drought Plan is drawn up in agreement with our environmental regulator, the Environment Agency, and in consultation with customers and other interested stakeholders. It is reviewed and revised in accordance with regulatory requirements.

The latest version of our Drought Plan, a summary document and the associated environmental documents are attached below. We held a six-week consultation on a draft version of the plan during August and September 2019.  We have produced a Statement or Response to the comments we received from consultees, which is also available below.

No information has been excluded from the Drought Plan on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. Sensitive site-specific information has been removed, or presented in a non-specific manner, in the interest of national security. This includes maps, diagrams and descriptions of sources of water supply and treatment works.

Water resources management plan

All water companies are required by the Government to produce a Water Resources Management Plan, to show how we plan to maintain a secure supply of water to all our customers over the next 25 years. The plan is developed following guidance from the Environment Agency and is reviewed and revised every 5 years.

Our Water Resources Management Plan ensures that we can continue to meet customer demand in the future. We aim to do this with minimum impact on the environment.

Our plan incorporates future pressures on water supply and demand due to predicted changes to the climate. It also looks at future changes in population, housing, water use and metering trends in Yorkshire.

The plan is built up of a number of elements to allow us to plan for the future:

- A forecast of future customer water demand;
- A forecast of our available water supply;
- Identification of any gap between forecast available supply and customer demand; and
- Selection of investment schemes to meet any forecast gap

Our current plan is our Water Resources Management Plan 2019 and it is supported by a Strategic Environment Assessment. These documents can be viewed in full or as non-technical summaries via the links below.

We published our draft Water Resources Management Plan and Strategic Environment Assessment for consultation in March 2018. Our consultation period ran for 12 weeks to June 2018 and is now closed.

Following consultation feedback, we produced a revised draft Water Resources Management Plan and Strategic Environment Assessment of our plan. We also produced a Statement of Response in reply to all comments received. This sets out how we have taken account of consultation responses and the changes we made to our plan. Defra reviewed our revised draft Water Resources Management Plan and Strategic Environmental Assessment and wrote to us in February 2019 asking for clarification on three issues. Our Statement of Response, Defra’s letter and our response can be downloaded from this page.

No information has been excluded from the Water Resources Management Plan on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. Sensitive site-specific information has been removed, or presented in a non-specific manner, in the interest of national security. This includes maps, diagrams and descriptions of sources of water supply and treatment works.

Water resources market information

Along with our Water Resources Management Plan, Ofwat requires all water companies to publish water resources market information. This data is published at a water resource zone level.  A water resource zone is the largest area of a company’s supply system where all customers have the same water supply risk and is the level at which water resources are planned. Market information for our Water Resources Plan 2019 can be found here.

This information includes costs for our current water resource management plan options and our preferred solution. If you have identified an opportunity to supply water resources or provide demand management or leakage services in our supply area you can submit a third party bid to be assessed in accordance with our Bid Assessment Framework. Further information on the Water Bidding Market and how to submit a bid can be found here.

Bid Assessment Framework

Our Bid Assessment Framework provides information for anyone considering submitting a bid to us for either a water resource, demand management or leakage reduction solution.

The Bid Assessment Framework sets out the policies and principles we will use to ensure that bids are assessed fairly and transparently. To enable assessment, we require any bid to include completed submission forms, which are available in the Bid Assessment Framework download.

Bids to supply water resource, demand management or leakage reduction solutions should be sent to - watermarkets@yorkshirewater.co.uk

Download bid assessment framework

For further information around our bid assessment framework and approach to the water bidding market, please see our dedicated Water Bidding Market webpage.

Trading and Procurement Code

If you’d like to trade water resources with us, we recommend that you read our Trading and Procurement Code. This Code defines the policies, principles and requirements that will be applied when third parties enter a water trading agreement with Yorkshire Water.

In order to encourage the water resources market, our economic regulator, Ofwat, has set out a system of financial incentives relating to new trades. A water company must be able to demonstrate it has complied with its approved Trading and Procurement code to obtain a financial incentive. In line with Ofwat requirements, the Code is intended to provide confidence that any trades that we conduct in accordance with this code – and for which we may seek incentive rewards – will deliver net benefits in an efficient manner.

Yorkshire Water trading and procurement code