Meaning of "abstraction"

The protection of groundwater and the effective management of water resources are likely to be environmental issues of major importance in the coming years. Central to the British legal system of controls has been the requirement for abstraction licences under the Water Resources Act 1963, now consolidated under Part II of the Water Resources Act 1991, and in a recent decision the Court of Appeal has attempted to clarify the meaning of the key term "abstraction" as used in this legislation.

British Waterways Board v National Rivers Authority (The Times, 4 August 1992) concerned an abstraction licence which had been granted to a private firm by the former Anglian Water Authority in 1986. Following the privatisation of the water industry in 1989, the NRA took over responsibility for administering the controls.

The abstraction took place at an outfall channel which was hydrologically connected to a canal maintained by the B

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