About Open Water

The Open Water programme aims to facilitate the implementation of market reform in the water sector. This will involve the creation of a new market for retail water and sewerage services for non-household customers in England and Wales. The programme aims to be inclusive and open, and will draw on the experience and expertise of its stakeholders to:

  • stimulate innovation
  • increase choice for customers, and
  • drive sustainable approaches to managing our water resources.



The Open Water Programme is committed to taking a collaborative approach to market design and so is working with a broad range of stakeholders to draw on their existing experiences and understanding. As part of this the Programme set up a high-level design group and a series of smaller working groups. The first series of these topic-focused stakeholder working groups was held in October and November 2013 – and involved over 200 hours of consultation.

To ensure engagement is consistent and draws on the widest range of views there will be further opportunities for stakeholders to get involved throughout 2014 and beyond. All working groups, workshops, webinars, ad-hoc briefings and consultations will be a made available on the Open Water website.

Business Customers 

Research suggests over two thirds of small and medium-sized businesses support competition and the benefits it can bring. The public sector in Scotland (where competition is already in place) is forecast to save over £36 million over four years from discounts to prices and new water efficiency measures.

Being able to switch water and sewerage service supplier will mean that businesses are free to negotiate for the best package that suits their needs; be it through more efficient customer service and better-tailored packages, water efficiency advice, or price.

Business customers will also have a chance to feed into the Programme through consultations and workshops. Further to this the Programme will, in 2014 , be undertaking research in conjunction with CCWater into business customer needs and how any proposed framework would best support them.