Environmental campaigners demand the Government comes clean about where our water is coming from

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A dried up river.

A group of 37 national and local environmental groups are expressing great concern to the Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey about the water companies’ draft Water Resources Management Plans (dWRMP) in a letter drafted by WildFish. The groups include The Rivers Trust and WWF and represent all 17 water supply areas in England. 

Water companies set out in these plans how they will meet future demand for water. Information on this basic, vital requirement is uncertain and misleading in the latest round of plans. Environmental groups are concerned the plans lack the necessary detail that is required to allow customers and stakeholders to understand and answer the vital question ‘Where is my water coming from?’. 

The opaque nature of the plans has allowed the water industry to underreport the amount of extra water that is expected to be taken from rivers and aquifers in England.

Dr Janina Gray

Deputy CEO at WildFish

Janina continued: “Like with the sewage scandal, the water industry has failed to invest in infrastructure. The last reservoir built in England is 30 years old. The result is an industry highly dependent on the removal of water from natural resources, including our highly vulnerable and internationally important chalk streams. This has a significant environmental cost”.

Water companies over-abstract 700 million litres of water every day. This number is expected to triple by 2050. Now, more than ever, the public needs to understand the challenges facing our water supply and the huge ecological risk for nature and wildlife if water companies continue to be over-dependent on natural sources. 

Not a single draft plan is easily understood. Water companies are hiding the truth to avoid criticism and accountability for the state of our nations water resources.

James Overington

Water policy officer at WildFish

James continued: “These plans rely on large reductions in personal water use. We question if people will change their water use if they are being misled about the scale of the problem. 

The final WRMPs are due to be published at the end of 2023. This letter to the Government requests radical improvements so that everyone can understand how the water supply in England is organised as well as the catastrophic consequences it will have on the environment if the plans are not changed.

Signatories include WWF, The Rivers Trust, The Angling Trust and the Wildlife Trust. 

Below is a full list of the signatories.



The Rivers Trust

The Wildlife Trust

Angling Trust


River Action

Wild Trout Trust

British Canoeing


Institute of Fisheries Management

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

Angling Trust Eastern Region

Salmon and Trout Conservation Hampshire

Salmon and Trout Surrey

Salmon and Trout Conservation Northumbria

Wessex Salmon and Trout Conservation

West Yorkshire Salmon and Trout Conservation

South York Salmon and Trout Association

Bristol Rivers Trust

Westcountry Rivers Trust

Trent Rivers Trust

South East Rivers Trust

Wessex Rivers Trust

East Yorkshire Rivers Trust

South West Rivers Association


RSPB Strumpshaw Fen

RSPB Snape Wetlands

Ilkley Clean River Group

Cam Valley Forum Water Conservation Working Group

Stour Fishery and Conservation Association

Wiltshire Fisheries Association

Upper Itchen Initiative

Save Windermere

Clean River Kent Campaign

Friends of the Ems

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