Regional pilot is live! Phase one regional trial of Wheatley Watersource began on 1st December 2020 in consultation with the Environment Agency and supported by Anglian Water, Essex & Suffolk Water, Water Resources East, and Northumbrian Water. The pilot extended in March 2021 to Suffolk and most of Cambridge, Essex and Norfolk in the first phase of a much larger long-term, nationwide solution.  A project of this scale has never been implemented until now and we are hugely excited to help it get off the ground and conserve one of nature’s most precious resources.

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Check out Wheatley Watersource in the press


The valuable truth behind this product.

  • All the flexibility, scalability and availability you would expect from Wheatley Solutions software, applied to assist in the trade of water to meet demand
  • Single source for catchment information relevant to water trade
  • A digital platform to help connect water abstractors looking to trade
  • Help in navigating legislation and rules around water trade
  • Capturing and communicating trade outcomes


Indisputable facts that put you in front.

  • Help water companies, agriculture and industry meet needs for water in a way that also provides local environmental resilience
  • Support the national approach to water catchment management
  • Help water abstractors cope with increasing climate variations

For more details please contact us


What is Wheatley Watersource?

Wheatley Watersource is a single access point for water catchment data. It identifies opportunities for brokering and trading between water abstraction licence holders and others interested in alternative sources for their water such as golf courses. It also manages the trading and sharing process from private storage, encouraging more land owners to develop their own storage reservoirs.

Water is an essential natural resource, but it is not infinite. This ground-breaking and innovative solution is targeted at helping farmers, landowners, water companies and businesses to use, share and manage water efficiently and cost-effectively.

Why do we need a product such as this?

The UK is water stressed. Seasonal variances result in areas with excess water when demand is low and not enough when demand is high. With environmental climate changes and population growth, a more holistic approach is needed to manage resource, meet demand, and protect our environment.

How does it work?

Wheatley Watersource hosts and provides access to valuable data and information through a map interface, previously only available via disparate sources. It identifies river basins, water catchments and water bodies for the whole country and the Water Framework Directive, (WFD) environmental status for a water body. It also shows abstraction points within the pilot area and who holds the abstraction licence.

Using Wheatley Watersource will enable water abstraction licence holders, farmers and other landowners to identify opportunities to share or trade water. A user can advertise if they have water available or if they need water, how much and for what purpose, along with the location of any storage reservoirs.

A trade map shows the locations of ‘need’ and ‘offer’ posts to help people connect. For the pilot, posts are presented in order of distance, making it easy to identify those providing the greatest opportunity for trade.

Once a trade opportunity between a donor and recipient has been identified, Wheatley Watersource assesses the viability of trade against complex Environmental Legislation. It informs both parties if 1) there are any discrepancies in the information they have provided, 2) if they can go ahead and trade without referring to the Environment Agency – a ‘fast trade’ or 3) if they must seek approval/licence variation from the Environment Agency.

If a trade opportunity needs to be referred to the Environment Agency, the software will capture the relevant donor and recipient information and complete the ‘pre-application’ service.*

Wheatley Watersource tracks trade opportunities and records outcomes for when water trade or sharing does take place, as well as when it does not, and why not. This information isn’t personalised, and your data remains private.

*For the pilot phase, Wheatley Watersource cannot facilitate full application due to the Environment Agency’s legislation which requires abstractors to complete the official forms published by them and is a chargeable service. The Environment Agency information needs are complex, and Wheatley Solutions continues to work with them to progress from pilot to full solution.

I am an abstractor, what’s in it for me?

For the first time, you can influence the future direction for UK water trade.

You can be confident that when a ‘fast trade’ is available you can proceed knowing that the legislation and regulation is being upheld. If a referral is required, the pre-application is quick and easy due to information already pre-populated.

You will save time because Wheatley Watersource provides an immediate approved assessment, having done the exploration work on your behalf. If an Environment Agency referral is required, less paperwork is needed due to information collected when you first registered with Wheatley Watersource.

You get access to a large audience of other abstractors, industry and landowners. When posting your willingness to explore trading or sharing a percentage of your permitted water it will be visible to a much larger audience. You’ll also see if people near you are seeking water, providing you with an opportunity to earn money too.

How does Wheatley Watersource encourage broker trade in water?

It helps in many ways:

  • A stakeholder can highlight that they have water to sell to those posting a request for water.
  • Farmers, landowners, industry and resource managers can identify potential sources for trade by seeing the locations of abstraction points and storage points.
  • After linking the ‘buyer’ with the ‘seller’, Wheatley Watersource helps them assess the potential for trade and if needed, helps submit pre-application to the Environment Agency.

What types of water trade does Wheatley Watersource help with?

The long term the vision is for Wheatley Watersource to help broker all types of trade to enable more effective management of water. This current pilot project, with Anglian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water, focusses on non-public water storage, (water not stored by a water company or water wholesaler) to help identify where water is stored today, encourage trade and seek opportunities for additional storage.

How is the potential for a trade event assessed?

Several factors are taken into consideration such as the source of the water, its destination, what it is to be used for, the trader’s abstraction licence conditions and any environmental legislation or restrictions. To make this assessment far easier, Wheatly Watersource has already agreed the rules around a trade opportunity with the Environment Agency thereby simplifying the process.

How does Wheatley Watersource help to promote storage?

Wheatley Watersource allows an abstractor to declare they have storage, what type, e.g. open/closed, its location and capacity. Abstractors can choose to share this information with other registered users and when posting to declare they have water to sell or need water, they can state whether this ‘need’ post relates to storage. The rules around trading from stored water can differ, in most cases it is easier, to those trading from an abstraction point.

Geographical areas in the phase one trial for surface Water: Deben (Brandeston Bridge - Melton), Deben Tidal, Bucklesham Mill River, Shottisham Mill River, Black Ditch (East Suffolk), Alde & Ore tidal, Tang, Butley River, Ore, Alde - Ore (d/s confluence), Alde, Fromus, Hundred River, Leiston Beck, Minsmere, Old River, Byng Brook, Potsford Brook.
Ground water abstraction licences within the above Surface Water Body areas, where the Groundwater Bodies are: Waveney and Suffolk East Chalk and Crag, Felixstowe Peninsula Crag & Chalk.
Group 6 Created with Sketch. PDF How to Register for the Pilot
Group 6 Created with Sketch. PDF How to Add a Water to Share Post
Group 6 Created with Sketch. PDF How to Add a Need Water Post as an Abstractor
Group 6 Created with Sketch. PDF How to Add a Need Water Post as a Non Abstractor

WRE, as one of five regional water groups delivering the Environment Agency’s Water Resources National Framework, have been incredibly impressed by the potentially ground-breaking work of Wheatley Watersource.

Their work on progressing the water trading landscape in England during times of need are highly innovative and add valuable evidence to the current debate on how best to address the significant challenges water resource management faces.

If Wheatley Watersource became fully operational it would no doubt present water users the opportunity to build greater resilience, increase a catchment based approach to water management, and help encourage true collaboration both in between and across sectors.

Nancy Smith Communications and engagement executive - Water Resources East

Let’s talk!

Contact us to find out how you could join this regional trial free of charge.