Water Act 1973

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1973 c. 37


Water Act 1973

1973 CHAPTER 37

An Act to make provision for a national policy for water, for the conferring and discharge of functions as to water (including sewerage and sewage disposal, fisheries and land drainage) and as to recreation and amenity in connection with water, for the making of charges by water authorities and other statutory water undertakers, and for connected purposes.

[18th July 1973]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I National Policy and Central and Local Organisation

Part I

National Policy and Central and Local Organisation

National policy

National policy

S-1 National policy for water.

1 National policy for water.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (in this Act referred to as ‘the Minister’) to promote jointly a national policy for water in England and Wales and so to discharge their respective functions under subsections (2) and (3) below as to secure the effective execution of that policy by the bodies responsible for the matters mentioned in those subsections.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to secure the effective execution of so much of that policy as relates to—

(a ) the conservation, augmentation, distribution and proper use of water resources, and the provision of water supplies;

(b ) sewerage and the treatment and disposal of sewage and other effluents;

(c ) the restoration and maintenance of the wholesomeness of rivers and other inland water;

(d ) the use of inland water for recreation;

(e ) the enhancement and preservation of amenity in connection with inland water; and

(f ) the use of inland water for navigation.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Minister to secure the effective execution of so much of that policy as relates to land drainage and to fisheries in inland and coastal waters.

(4) Accordingly in the following provisions of this Act ‘the appropriate Minister or Ministers’ means—

(a ) in relation to a matter falling exclusively within subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State;

(b ) in relation to a matter falling exclusively within subsection (3) above, the Minister; and

(c ) in relation to a matter falling partly within one and partly within the other of those subsections, both the Secretary of State and the Minister acting jointly;

and ‘the Ministers’ means both the Secretary of State and the Minister acting jointly.

(5) It shall be the duty of the Welsh National Water Development Authority established under section 2 below to consider and advise the appropriate Minister or Ministers on any matter concerning that part of the national policy for water which falls to be executed by the Authority and on any other matters (including matters for which the Authority are not responsible) referred to the Authority by the appropriate Minister or Ministers.

(6) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to collate and publish information from which assessments can be made of the actual and prospective demand for water, and of actual and prospective water resources, in England and Wales.

(7) The Secretary of State may also (in so far as he considers it appropriate to do so) collaborate with others in collating and publishing the like information relating to the demand for water, and to water resources, whether in England and Wales or elsewhere.

Water authorities

Water authorities

S-2 Establishment of water authorities.

2 Establishment of water authorities.

(1) For the purpose of exercising functions conferred on them by or by virtue of Part II of this Act, there shall be established in accordance with the following provisions of this section authorities to be known as regional water authorities, being the authorities named in column 1 of Schedule 1 to this Act, and also an authority to be known as the Welsh National Water Development Authority (in this Act referred to as ‘the Welsh authority’).

(2) Subject to subsection (5) below and Part IV of Schedule 5 to this Act—

(a ) the regional water authorities shall exercise their functions as respects the existing areas described in column 2 of Schedule 1 to this Act (being, in general, areas established for the purposes of functions relating to water resources or land drainage), and

(b ) the Welsh authority shall exercise their functions as respects the existing areas of the Dee and Clwyd, Glamorgan, Gwynedd, South West Wales, Usk and Wye River Authorities.

In this subsection any reference to an existing area is a reference to that area as existing immediately before the passing of this Act except that, in the case of an area which is altered after the passing of this Act under any enactment other than this section, it is a reference to the altered area.

(3) In this Act and any other enactment ‘water authority’ means an authority established in accordance with this section and ‘water authority area’ means, in relation to any functions of a water authority, the area as respects which the water authority are for the time being to exercise those functions.

(4) Each of the authorities mentioned in subsection (1) above shall be established by an order made by the Ministers and shall come into existence on a day appointed by the order, and—

(a ) the order or orders establishing the regional water authorities shall be made not later than one month after the passing of this Act; and

(b ) the order establishing the Welsh authority shall be made in accordance with section 3(10) below.

(5) The Ministers may by order change the name of any water authority or alter the boundaries of a water authority area for the purposes of any functions specified in the order.

(6) Without prejudice to any power exercisable by virtue of section 34 below, an order under this section may contain such transitional, incidental, supplementary or consequential provision as the Ministers consider necessary or expedient for the purposes of the order.

(7) Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect in relation to the boundaries of water authority areas, Part II of that Schedule shall have effect in relation to maps of such areas and of watercourses in them and Part III shall have effect in relation to the alteration of such boundaries.

(8) The supplementary provisions contained in Part I of Schedule 3 to this Act and the administrative and financial provisions contained in Part III of that Schedule shall have effect with respect to water authorities.

S-3 Members of water authorities.

3 Members of water authorities.

(1) A regional water authority shall consist of the following members, that is to say—

(a ) a chairman appointed by the Secretary of State;

(b ) such number of members appointed by the Minister as may be specified in an order under section 2 above, being not less than two or more than four;

(c ) such number of members appointed by the Secretary of State as may be so specified; and

(d ) such number of members as may be so specified appointed by local authorities in accordance with subsections (6) to (8) below;

and any such order shall be so framed that the total number of members appointed by the Secretary of State and the Minister is less than the number of those appointed by local authorities.

(2) The members appointed by the Minister shall be persons who appear to him to have had experience of, and shown capacity in, agriculture, land drainage or fisheries.

(3) The members appointed by the Secretary of State shall be persons who appear to the Secretary of State to have had experience of, and shown capacity in, some matter relevant to the functions of water authorities.

(4) One of the members of the Severn-Trent Water Authority appointed by the Secretary of State shall be a member of the Welsh authority.

(5) In appointing the members of a regional water authority the Minister concerned shall have regard to the desirability of members of the authority being familiar with the requirements and circumstances of the authority's area.

(6) Subject to subsections (8) and (9) below, if a quarter or more of the population of any county is resident within the area of a regional water authority, then,—

(a ) in the case of a metropolitan county, the county council may appoint two members, and the councils of the districts within the county may between them appoint two members, of the water authority;

(b ) in the case of a non-metropolitan county or of a county in Wales, the county council may appoint one member, and the councils of the districts within the county may between them appoint one member, of the water authority;

and if one-sixth or more, but less than one-fourth, of the population of any county is resident within that area, the county council may, after consultation with the councils of the districts within the county and wholly or partly within that area appoint one member of the water authority.

Where the area of a water authority is different for different functions, that area shall be taken for the purposes of this subsection to be the area as respects which the authority discharge any functions or, as respects the period between the passing of this Act and 1st April 1974, the area as respects which they will discharge any functions as from that date.

(7) In the case of the Thames Water Authority, the Greater London Council may appoint ten members, and the London borough councils and the Common Council of the City of London may between them appoint ten members, of the Authority.

(8) In the case of the South West Water Authority, the Cornwall and Devon...

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