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Drought permits and drought orders

Advice for water companies producing statutory drought plans, drought order and drought permits

Regulations that affect you

It is your statutory duty as a water undertaker to prepare, consult, publish and maintain a drought plan under Sections 39B and 39C of the Water Industry Act 1991, as amended by the Water Act 2003.

Further information and documentation is available on Defra's water resources and drought web pages.

When producing your drought plans, you should follow the guidance and good practice set out in the water company drought plan guideline.

Once a drought plan is finalised, you should keep it under review and report any changes to us and the government. The plan must be reviewed:

  • if there is a material change to the plan
  • if directed to do so by government
  • in any case not later than three years and six months after the publication date of the previous final drought plan

Drought orders and drought permits guideline

Natural Resources Wales worked with the Welsh Government, Environment Agency and Defra to update the drought orders and drought permits guideline for water companies in England and Wales. This provides information for water companies about the process for applying for both drought orders and permits.  Before you apply for a drought permit, drought order or emergency drought order, you must refer to this guidance.

The pdf documents of the guidance are available here: 

To apply for a drought permit or drought order, please complete form WR80.

For details of current drought plans please view Water company Water Resource Management Plans (WRMP).

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