A public inquiry into South East Water’s water resources plan began in Crawley on 11 May. Another, into Thames Water’s plan begins on 15 June in Oxford. The date for a inquiry into Portsmouth Water’s plan has yet to be set.1
The plans are statutory documents in which companies forecast water demand for the next 25 years and propose how they will meet it. They were submitted to the Environment Agency and the environment department (DEFRA) and put to public consultation in 2008 (ENDS Report 400, pp 48-49).
The inquiries were ordered by ministers last August to consider issues disputed between companies and the Environment Agency.
South East Water’s inquiry, lasting three weeks, will consider the firm’s demand forecasts and plans for three reservoir projects.
Thames Water’s four-week inquiry will question the company’s demand projections and its plans to provide an extra 100 million litres of water per day above its forecast. Part of Thames’ plans include building a large reservoir near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.
Portsmouth Water’s inquiry, originally intended to be a less formal hearing, will consider demand forecasts and plans for a new reservoir.