Water companies have to provide a safe and secure water supply. It is for the companies themselves to take responsibility and make decisions on how best to protect the essential services they supply.
In its final determination Ofwat included over £414 million to improve the resilience of water and sewerage services against external hazards such as flooding.
Companies are also obliged to have emergency plans in place to maintain supply either through network resilience or deployment of bowsers, for which Ofwat has also allowed funding.
DEFRA has given the Environment Agency a strategic overview of flood and coastal erosion risk management and, in line with this, passed it the management of the capital improvements programme. The chief engineer and regional engineers were primarily focused on this work.
To facilitate this transition the Environment Agency has strengthened its role at both regional and area levels, for example, by recruiting additional coastal engineers. DEFRA also seconded staff to the Environment Agency to ensure continuity of work and training.
DEFRA retains a smaller cadre of engineers and other experienced professionals who provide input to policy development and an intelligent client function for the flood and coastal erosion risk management programme.
The Environment Agency has over 450,000 registered users on Floodline Warnings Direct.
The Environment Agency's Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service that provides flood warnings direct to users by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message and fax.
A fully developed National Flood Emergency Framework will be in place by June 2010, in line with the commitment given in response to Sir Michael Pitt’s review on the 2007 floods. The Framework will provide the basis for Exercise Watermark—our planned national exercise in March 2011.
DEFRA provides funding to operating authorities for flood defences from the allocation of funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management. Over the past five financial years this allocation totalled:
Financial year DEFRA funding (£ million) 2008-09 568.1 2007-08 507.5 2006-07 506.0 2005-06 514.8 2004-05 415.4
DEFRA funding (£ million)