Water industry

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the water industry and water supply. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

29.10.2015Water meters: the rights of customers and water companies
This Commons Library Briefing Paper explains the powers that customers and water companies have in opting for charging with water meters. It also provides an overview of the relevant Government policy and legislation.
17.07.2015Increasing competition in the water industry in England and Wales
This Commons Library Briefing Paper reviews the background to the Water Act 2014 in the context of increasing competition in England and Wales. It summarises relevant provisions of the Water Act 2014 and progress on implementation; discusses why household competition was excluded at this stage; and looks at the lessons from competition in the water industry in Scotland.
06.05.2014Water Bill 2013-14. Lords amendments
This note provides information on the Water Bill's Committee, Report and Third Reading stages in the Lords. It highlights amendments made to the Bill and also gives a brief account of other significant amendments discussed. It does not provide an exhaustive account of proceedings or document every amendment discussed.
02.01.2014Water Bill: Committee Stage Report
This briefing describes key areas of debate during the Water Bill's Committee Stage. The briefing does not cover all amendments or discussions.
21.11.2013Water Bill
This briefing is prepared for MPs and their staff to aid in their scrutiny of the Water Bill 2013 at its Second Reading on 25 November 2013. It provides briefing on key issues; additional briefing is available to MPs and their staff upon request.
24.05.2013Water bills - are they affordable to all?
Water affordability problems have grown with real-term increases in water bills of around 50% since privatisation in 1989. Current UK Government policy might not ensure that water bills are affordable to all those on low incomes, although support is available for some vulnerable households.
24.05.2013Water bills and rateable values
Members of the public often contact their water company or MP complaining that their water bill is much higher than their neighbour's because of differences to the rateable value of the properties. However, rateable values cannot be changed. Opting for a water meter might be the best option for households seeking to reduce their water bill.
17.05.2013Water bills in the south-west
This note provides information on water bills in the south-west, which are significantly higher than in other parts of England. It describes the Government's solution to the problem: a payment allowing a 50 reduction of South West Water customer bills from April 2013.
15.05.2013The Water Bill
The Government plans to introduce a Water Bill in this parliamentary session. It will probably focus on increasing competition in the water sector, and it will also aim to deliver other objectives including the provision of flood insurance, the better management of water supplies and more sustainable water abstraction.
08.11.2012Sewer flooding

Lords Library Notes

22.01.2014Water Bill
The Water Bill would introduce greater competition in the water sector by allowing non-household customers to switch their water and sewerage supplier (retail competition) and by allowing new entrants to the water market to provide new sources of water or sewerage treatment services (upstream competition).


22.08.2014Phosphate Resources
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.
14.10.2013Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment
Disease causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic drug treatment. Diseases once controlled by antibiotics are re-emerging as serious risks to human health. This POSTnote outlines the hazards posed by resistant bacteria, the sources of resistance in the environment and measures that may reduce these risks globally.
15.09.2011Water in production and products
This POSTnote examines how virtual water use is calculated and its application within the global economy.
01.10.2010Resilience of UK infrastructure
This POSTnote outlines efforts to improve the resilience of infrastructure to the risks of natural hazards and any effects of future climate change.
01.04.2007Energy and sewage, April 2007
This POSTnote evaluates options for sewage treatment in terms of energy conservation and renewable energy generation. Energy and sewage, April 2007. POSTnote 07/282.
01.01.1990Drinking water quality
This POSTnote describes the basis of current standards and highlights some of the issues relating to the provision of safe drinking water. POSTnote 8. POST. 1990.

Early Day Motions

That this House is concerned that the recent report by Lord Selborne, instigated by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, long-standing opponents of the Thames Tunnel, fails ...
That this House is extremely concerned by the impact of changes to the way surface water drainage is charged that allows water companies to base the charge for processing rainwater ...
That this House notes the impact of increased charges by some water companies for surface water drainage on places of worship, scout and guide associations and community amateur sports ...
That this House notes the importance of utility companies exercising socially responsible and sustainable business practices; congratulates the staff and directors of Northumbrian Water ...
That this House notes the enormous contribution scout groups and other voluntary organisations make in helping local communities; notes with dismay the water regulator Ofwat's decision ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses