Water Industry Regulators

How is the Water Industry Regulated?

The water industry in the UK is regulated in three key areas:

Financial and Economic :: Environmental :: Water Quality

Financial and Economic

There is no competition between water companies for domestic customers as you cannot switch supplier. You have to use the company which supplies to your local area so the prices they can charge are regulated.


The following authorities keep an eye on issues such as how much water companies charge and the service provided to its customers:.

(Ofwat) Office of Water Service regulate water services in England and Wales; Water Commissioner for Scotland regulate Scottish water supplies and Northern Ireland has no separate regulator.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) represents domestic and business customers in England and Wales, with regard to costs, value for money and quality of service. They took over from WaterVoice on 1 October 2005 and CCWater is independent of both the water industry and the regulator.

Consumer Council For Water - CCWater

CCWater will also investigate customer complaints which have not been resolved by the water company. If you have complained to your water company but are not happy with their response you can contact CCWater.

If you would like to contact CCWater or make a complaint direct then visit their website.


The environment is of course a major factor in water supply as the industry is dependent on it. The water we use is taken from rivers, reservoirs or underground rocks, treated and pumped on to customers. Used water is then collected, cleaned and discharged back to the water sources.

Monitoring environmental effects, conserving water resources and controlling and preventing pollution is dealt with by the following authorities:

  • Environment Agency in England and Wales
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland
  • Environment and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland.

Drinking Water Quality

Water is constantly being tested for its quality and the following companies regulate this:

In England and Wales there is an independent government regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate; In Scotland, the Scottish Executive regulates the drinking water and in Northern Ireland it is done by the Northern Ireland Water Service.