A limited consultation (1 August – 29 August 2017) has been started for a revision to the Directions made by the Secretary of State (Defra) and the Welsh Ministers to Water and Sewerage Undertakers (Undertakers) and to Water Supply and/or sewerage licensees (Licensees) in the interests of national security or to mitigate the effects of a civil emergency.
View are sought on updating the Security and Emergency Measures (Water Undertakers) Directions to take into account the new Water Supply and/or Sewerage Licensees (WSSL) regime.
Currently, section 208 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (“WIA 91”), provides that the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers can issue general or specific Directions with two Directions published to-date:
The Security and Emergency Measures (Water and Sewerage Undertakers) Direction 1998 referred to as the SEMD Regulations, which directs undertakers to maintain plans to provide a supply of water at all times.
The Security and Emergency Measures (Water Undertakers) Direction 2006 which places a qualified duty on undertakers to provide a water supply to a licensed water supplier, where there is an access agreement in place, and the licensed water supplier requests the water undertaker to provide it with a supply of water in the event that the licensed water supplier is unable to provide a supply to its customers due to an emergency or security event.
In addition, company-specific Directions have been issued to a small number of companies who were, at time of issue, licensed water suppliers.
The current consultation is made based on recent changes to the water supply licensing regime arising from the Water Act 2014 & the need to ensure that the water sector continues to be properly protected against risks and threats to supply, where there may be future inputs of water into the supply systems of undertakers by licensees.
The consultation is designed to seek views from interested parties on two proposals, which is divided into two corresponding parts:
A proposal to issue an updated version of the Security and Emergency Measures (Water Undertakers) Direction 2006 with the principal change to amend the terminology used in the 2006 Direction from ‘licensed water supplier’ to ‘water supply licensee’.
A proposal to issue a new general direction which would apply to all water supply licensees meeting certain conditions, and which would replace earlier, specific directions issued to individual companies. The essential content of the new direction would be very similar to that of the individual directions.
Consultation comments are invited through an Online Survey here within the consultation period: 1 August – 29 August 2017.