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The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the body responsible for economic regulation of the privatised water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.

Ofwat is primarily responsible for setting limits on the prices charged for water and sewerage services, taking into account proposed capital investment schemes (such as building new wastewater treatment works) and expected operational efficiency gains. The most recent review was carried out in 2004; reviews are carried out every five years, and thus the next will take place in 2009.

Ofwat consists of a board, plus an office of staff which carries out work delegated to them by the board. The current board consists of:

  • Philip Fletcher - Chairman
  • Regina Finn - Chief Executive
  • Penny Boys - Non-Executive Director
  • Peter Bucks - Non-Executive Director
  • Jane May - Non-Executive Director
  • Michael Brooker (WSRA) - Non-Executive Director
  • Gillian Owen (WSRA) - Non-Executive Director
  • Keith Mason (WSRA) - Executive Director
  • Cathryn Ross - Executive Director

The Environment Agency is responsible for environmental regulation, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate for regulating drinking water quality.

The water industry regulator in Scotland is the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.


Ofwat was set up in 1989 at the time when the 10 Water Authorities in England and Wales were privatised by flotation on the stock market. The resulting companies are known as "the water and sewerage companies"; this distinguishes them from around a dozen smaller companies which only provide water services, which were already in private hands in 1989 (having remained in private ownership since their creation in the nineteenth century). The water only companies provide water to around 25% of the population in England and Wales.

Before 1 April 2006, all regulatory powers rested with the Director General of Water Services. The staff who supported the role of the Director General were collectively known as the "Office of Water Services", which was abbreviated to "Ofwat". Ian Byatt was the Director General between 1989 and 2000; Philip Fletcher, the current chairman, was Director General until 2006.

On 1 April 2006, the Director General was replaced by the Water Services Regulation Authority. The name "Office of Water Services" is no longer used, as it had no legal basis.

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See also

Coordinates: 52°28′35″N 1°53′55″W / 52.4763°N 1.8986°W / 52.4763; -1.8986



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