The white paper, Water for Life, published this morning lays out plans to deregulate water markets, help customers negotiate better services and prices from suppliers, open up the sector for new entrants in the water market and encourage local organisations to get more involved in improving the water quality of rivers.
Defra also wants water companies to pioneer new “social tariffs” for people struggling to pay their bills.
Underlying the changes is the Government’s agenda for “green economic growth” and Defra’s plans are designed to help UK firms tap into the $300billion worldwide market for water products.
Announcing the news, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Making sure we’ve got enough water for everyone is going to be one of the major challenges this country will have to deal with in the years ahead. We can already see the type of problems we may face, with parts of Britain still in drought even though we’re in December.
“With water expected to be less predictable as time goes on we all have to play our part in ensuring our water supply remains secure.”
The Government will publish a draft Water Bill in early 2012.