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The Water Bill would introduce greater competition in the water sector by allowing non-household customers to switch their water and sewerage supplier (retail competition) and by allowing new entrants to the water market to provide new sources of water or sewerage treatment services (upstream competition). Reforms would be made to the regulation of the water industry, including giving Ofwat a duty to secure the long-term resilience of water supplies and sewerage. The Bill also seeks to address the availability and affordability of insurance for households in high flood risk areas. Other measures include provisions enabling water-related legislation to be brought under the environmental permitting framework at a later date, and changing the regulation of Internal Drainage Boards.

This Note is intended to provide background information in advance of the Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords on 27 January 2014. It outlines measures contained in the Bill and summarises proceedings at report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.

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