Water trade pilot launches

DEFRA, Ofwat and the Environment Agency signalled the urgent need for solutions to the scarcity of water in the UK to Parliament during the last Environmental Bill. The challenge was to make better use of existing water abstraction licences, encourage the trade and sharing of water at a local level and inspire abstractors to consider developing their own storage reservoirs to store water when there is plenty, with the option of sharing in times of drought. Without a solution in place the impact will be devastating for farmers, for industry and for our increasing population.

Wheatley Solutions already had a concept in mind with Wheatley Watersource and phase one launches today 1st December 2020, enabling users to see market information in the pilot water catchment areas and facilitates the trade of water in the Suffolk East water catchment region.

The concept was developed and ultimately funded for a market trial as a consequence of an “innovation dash” at Innovate East, an annual festival of innovation in the water industry hosted Anglian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water and in association with Water Resources East (WRE).

Wheatley Watersource allows the communication necessary to broker and track the trade or sharing of water between water abstraction licence holders and others interested in an alternative source of water .e.g. golf courses. Users can advertise the need for water or the availability of surplus water, using a map to show geographic proximity and through automated alerts to other users of new activity relevant to them.  But what makes Wheatley Watersource unique is that it has been developed in consultation with the Environment Agency (EA) and uses EA rules and data to provide an immediate assessment of the trade opportunity.  

Wheatley Watersource identifies if a trade / sharing can take place without referral to the EA (what is known as a “fast trade”) or if referral is needed. When referral to the is needed Wheatley Watersource can facilitate a pre-application to the Environment Agency for a variation to a licence, new licence or trade in water rightsproviding a digital means of collecting the information the EA needs for pre-application from both the water donor and recipient.   

Wheatley Solutions are really proud to be trialling our Watersource concept, as a potential method to safeguard our precious water resource and meet the challenges faced by the UK water market.

If you would like to get involved please contact simon.murray@wheatleysolutions.co.uk

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