Briefing Note/Pack

Learning Journey on Water Security: UK Water Offer

30th August 2022
Author: Andrew Roby, Jacob Tompkins, Kim Ozano

The overarching goals for the UK in relation to global water security are to; tackle and reverse growing water insecurity and its consequences caused by depletion and degradation of natural water sources; and address poor water management and increasing demand. To do this, the UK has a well-developed water ‘offer’ that together can help reach the goal of global water security. This note details some of that water offer: UK water leadership: The UK developed the concept of modern sanitation and water supply, with an early example being the Victorian Bazalgette London sewer; Ownership and regulation: The UK has four models of ownership: government department in Northern Ireland, GoCo in Scotland, Mutual in Wales, and private companies in England. But the common thread is strong and clear, regulation to deliver the right outcomes for society; Competition and markets: The UK set up the world’s first water retail markets for business customers, delivering savings and environmental benefits. Similar market mechanisms are being developed for sewage sludge, which will help drive circular economy solutions; Innovation: The UK has a huge number of water tech start-ups and most water companies have labs and pilot schemes to support these fledgling companies. At the same time, the English regulator, Ofwat, has established a huge innovation fund, which along with the Scottish Hydro Nation initiative has made the UK the best place in the world for water innovation and tech.

Suggested Citation

Ozano, K., Roby, A. and Tompkins, J. (2022) Learning Journey on Water Security: UK Water Offer, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2022.026


30th August 2022


Continent: Europe

Country: United Kingdom