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PS#4: West Country (UK)


Led by WRT

River culmin


Description of the area

The West Country Water Resources area covers the Western Peninsula of the UK from Bristol and Wiltshire down to Devon and Cornwall an area 23,000km2 with a population of 4.7m people. The region contributes more than £100bn a year to the UK economy. Agriculture is important with the livestock industry accounting for over £2bn and there is an important dairy industry. The West Country area is one of five regional groupings to manage water quantity through the Water Resource Group.

WestCountry Map


Main water governance challenges  

Water resources – there is broadly sufficient quantity of water both on surface water zones and ground water zones although water shunting between zones is considered, but water quality is highly variable, has an impact on treatment costs and is not adequately reflected in the Water Resource Group. The community coordination of water quality under WFD through River Basin Management Plans is not as strong as it could be as Catchment Partnership are not collated at a regional scale.


Key stakeholders

The main stakeholders are water companies (South West Water, Wessex Water & Bristol Water), local authorities (Somerset County Council, Dorset County Council, Devon County Council & Cornwall Council), Environment Agency, Abstractors (National Farmer Union) and river interest catchment partnerships)


InnWater governance innovation and Solutions to be experienced

There is already a West Country Water Resources grouping but since 2014 there has not been a River Basin Liaison Panel that sought to ensure sufficient water quality alongside water quantity. The InnWater project would seek to:

  • Develop a regional grouping of Catchment Partnerships (RBWF) with the purpose of ensuring sufficient creation, assessment of water quantity data alongside management of water quality projects, especially at a catchment management scale.
  • The solution experienced within the West Country area will be the coordination and bringing together of all Catchment Partnerships and data to mirror the area covered by the West Country Water Resources Group to ensure local deliver of water quality solutions linked to future resource availability. This will include increasing data through Citizen Science alongside public/private data and sharing through a common data platform of citizen science data to inform water quality status alongside government and business derived data.

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