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The Water Industry Act and New Appointment and Variations (Nav’s)

17 May 2022

Developers, did you know that The Water Industry Act 1991 includes legislation which allows for sites within an existing water boards area to be serviced by another provider?

This gives you, the developer extra options and greater flexibility when it comes to the water infrastructure for your bespoke development needs.

Whenever an alternative provider is appointed, a NAV is made by Ofwat.


What does NAV stand for within the Water Industry?

The abbreviation ‘NAV’ when used in context of the water Industry stands for new appointments and variations.

NAVs are regulated companies by Ofwat that have been established to offer water and/or wastewater services to a specific regional site or designated area with the idea being that they replace the incumbent water company.


What is a NAV agreement?

On qualifying sites, it is up to developers to request that a New Appointment and Variation (NAV) be made so that the new provider can supply water and/or wastewater services to their development.

A NAV agreement can then be granted which involves replacing the incumbent provider with the newly appointed provider who will adopt, own, and maintain the onsite provision of your water and/or wastewater infrastructure and services where the site qualifies or meets the criteria for a new NAV agreement to be made.

The NAV application process goes through 5 stages from pre-application through to final decision which can take some months to navigate with Ofwat before the new appointee can be granted the new agreement.


Clear water image to represent Aquamain NAV arrangements


New Appointments and Variations (NAV’s) are made by OFWAT

There is a legal framework in place that allows developers to request a new NAV be made or appointed by Ofwat. These are governed by a set of criteria and guidelines that must be met before the NAV is granted to the new provider by Ofwat along with the ongoing obligations that must then be met by the new NAV provider. Variations occur when adjustments or changes are made to the existing arrangement with the incumbent company which may affect parts of the water or wastewater infrastructure. Most NAV’s to date have been granted to new entrants to the water sector market or those that have a history within the wider energy or utilities market where multi-lay services are provided.


Nav’s and the impact on the wider water industry and market

The introduction and legislation of NAV’s to the market was created in The Water Industry Act 1991 and is applicable to England and Wales and effectively represents new options that pose competitive threats to the incumbent water companies who have traditionally monopolised the market.

The NAV arrangements means that the onsite water and/or wastewater services can be supplied, managed, maintained and connected by the new NAV operator or provider where they basically adopt the regional service requirements which in essence gives developers of new housing or mixed development projects a choice.

In many cases, there are time and budget savings to be made by opting for a NAV or Self-Lay provider rather than staying with the incumbent supplier. This is great news for developers and the market in general providing flexibility, cost efficiencies and time efficiencies.

When a new development needs to be connected to water/wastewater services, the onsite installation of pipes and connection services can now be provided in three different ways:

1) The incumbent company
2) A Self-Lay Organisation (SLO)
3) A NAV

All three parties listed above are in competition and can provide quotes for services which developers can choose from to meet their specific needs, requirements, and timings. One of the biggest and most frustrating challenges facing developers is time and the requirement for services to be provided around development sites. At Aquamain, our current plot connection call off period is just 10 days! In many instances, developers can be experiencing delays of 8 weeks or more when working directly with their incumbent local water companies.

Aquamain are a WIRS accredited Self-Lay organisation with an unrivalled reputation for all your water infrastructure service needs across England and Wales. We provide everything you need for the successful provision of water to your development meeting your deadlines whilst also ensuring first time adoption of our water assets.


Contact Us

Whether you need advice, a quotation, help or you just want to talk with someone about the provision of water assets for your Development, the Aquamain team are here to help you – contact us today.

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