Water Adoption Agreement

On March 26, 2019, the companies submitted for approval a draft guide for the sewer sector and a draft agreement for the adoption of sewers. We then reviewed these documents and indicated in July 2019 that, subject to some minor amendments, we were satisfied that they met the requirements of the code and we merely approved them. Another type of sewer is through another section of the Water Management Act, S102. This is a retroactive agreement that can be used to take back existing sewers in which there is no S104 agreement. This is done at the request of the owner and, if the water company is satisfied with the condition of the sewers, the transfer is immediate. In our research, these are sometimes described as being in the negotiation phase, with the sewers made public immediately after the agreement was signed. In the case of significant developments (generally, ten or more houses), the normal method used to achieve this transfer is through Section 104 of the Water Industry Act (1991), commonly referred to as the Section 104 Agreement (short for S104). The companies also indicated that they did not expect them to be able to begin reporting on the level of service metrics defined in industry documents by October 1, 2020. The main reason is how long it will take to implement notification systems. Our main concern is that companies are committed to providing these measures to customers and that customers (and businesses) will be able to enforce their rights from April 1, 2020 as part of the standard acceptance agreement and industry guideline. Since companies are committed to doing so, we can accept the backlog in reporting. However, we have made it clear to businesses that October 1, 2020 should instead serve as a backstop and work to ensure that they are up to speed in order to meet their reporting obligations. Ofwat`s obligation to establish a code came into force in October 2017 for companies operating in all or largely England and, on 13 November 2017, we published our Code of Adoption Agreements for Water and Wastewater Companies that operate entirely or primarily in England (the code).

This followed our engagement with the industry and its customers through a discussion paper we published in September 2016, a stakeholder workshop in January 2017 and our legal consultation on the draft code in the summer of 2017. The adoption of a drainage system by a section 104 agreement concerns a drainage system that drains private areas (such as roofs and driveways) as well as the drainage of highways (if both flow into the same pipeline system). The last authority to adopt is the Sewerage Undertaker. The cost of entering into such an agreement depends on the size of the development and drainage system required. The adoption process was recently made more difficult by the private transfer of channels in 2011. As part of the transfer, most of the sewers, which were installed before July of this year, were automatically transferred to the property of the water companies. These include sewers under the S104 agreements. However, the transfer involved only sewers discharged into the public system. The S104 agreements also concern surface water channels that carry rainwater from the land. Many of them flow into streams or ponds.

These were not included in the transfer, which means that there are developments where the bad pipes are owned by the water company, but where the surface water pipes are still subject to an acceptance agreement. There are also developments for which some of them were connected and adopted before July 2011 and parts that have been connected and are still private thereafter. Appendix G of the sewer sector guidelines contains the terms of the panel code. The code group (see point 3.8 of the code) is tasked with reviewing proposals to amend the sewer sector guidelines and the agreement on the adoption of remediation models.