Global demand for water is increasing putting pressure on freshwater supplies and ecosystems. Several areas of the UK are already water stressed, with concerns for water quality also an issue. Reliable and sufficient freshwater is important for the long-term sustainability of the food and drink industry; water is required for raw materials, processing needs and as an ingredient. 

Water is a key pillar of FDF's Ambition 2025. We aim to deliver continuous improvement in water use across the supply chain and to ensure sustainable water management and stewardship. We also aim to contribute to an industry-wide target to reduce water use by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.

The FDF is working collaboratively across the supply chain on initiatives addressing quality and availability of water, as well as water efficiency, including the Courtauld 2025 Water Ambition and Water for Food Group.

The FDF is also working with stakeholders to influence future policy, notable in relation to water abstraction.

Updates & milestones

WRAP Water Webinar - Friday 24th March

WRAP launched the Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap, back in late 2021,  which sets out a vision and key pathways to address the challenges the industry collectively is facing  in protecting critical water resources for food supply, for nature and for local communities.

Since then WRAP in collaboration with WWF, The Rivers Trust, and Good Stuff International (GSI), is working on collective action projects on a localised level to deal directly with issues in key sourcing areas for food and drink businesses.

WRAP along with its key partners, is now hosting a webinar on Friday 24th March, where you will be able to meet the project leads and discuss amongst other topics:

We encourage members to join this webinar, to find out more about WRAP’s collective action projects, how you can help address water risk in the supply chain, and support the water ambition of FDF's Ambition 2025

2023 UK Water Drinks Conference, London, 22nd March

The FDF would like to share an invitation to the UK Water Drinks Conference, taking place on 22nd March, organised in association with Natural Source Waters Association (NSWA).

The annual UK Water Drinks Conference provides a forum for leading natural source water producers, suppliers, and retailers to review trends, debate issues and develop a strategy for future planning.

The conference programme includes sessions on sustainability, Net Zero, health, and DRS as well as market trends and insights.

Henry Dimbleby will be providing the keynote speech for the conference in the morning and chairing the Healthier Futures and Planet Positive sessions. The afternoon has a dedicated DRS session.

If you would like to attend, you can book directly via the link below. To receive a 10% discount please use the code NSWA10 or contact Anthony Walker at NSWA directly.

A full agenda can be found here: UK Water Drinks Conference 2023 - 22 March, London - Zenith Global.

Water Resources annual charge billing – update on timescales

Due to ongoing work to develop the necessary IT systems and preparing the data that will enable annual billing to take place, the EA plans to begin billing this September with customers receiving their bills throughout the autumn.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the new charges, please contact

Environment Agency Water Resources Strategic Review of Charges: New Charging Scheme is live

Following the Environment Agency’s Water Resources charge scheme consultation between August – November 2021, (EA summary response document available here; FDF response to the consultation available here), the new scheme is now live.

From 1 April 2022, new application and annual charges apply. The new Environment Agency (Environmental Permitting Regulations and Abstraction Licencing) (England) Charging Scheme 2022 and the supporting Water resources charging guidance are available on GOV.UK.

Due to ongoing work to move licences into the new charging scheme, customers will receive their annual bill later than usual. The Environment Agency anticipate that bills will come out in Summer 2022. In the meantime, customers can use their online Water Resources charge indicator tool to calculate charges.  Members can contact the Environment Agency directly with any questions via

WRAP launches Roadmap towards Water Security for the Food & Drink Supply

On 24 November, WRAP, in partnership with WWF, The Rivers Trust and many other supporting organisations, launched the Roadmap towards Water Security for the Food & Drink Supply to protect vital water resources for the benefit of nature, local communities and the food and drink sector.

The Water Roadmap will be delivered by a coalition of water stewardship expert bodies, on-the-ground delivery agencies and UK food and drink organisations. The Water Roadmap builds on the success of the Courtauld Commitment Water Ambition to deliver even more ambitious changes across the food system in support of the new Courtauld Commitment 2030  target and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The new Water Roadmap directly addresses the climate risk and food security issues surrounding water stewardship whilst highlighting the need for urgent adaptation and action.

It includes:

  • The actions organisations need to take individually and collectively, to help deliver this vision - progressing through the five stages of the WWF water stewardship ladder.
  • The milestones that we need UK food and drink businesses to reach along this shared journey
  • The delivery and governance framework - including the steps to develop and deliver water stewardship projects.
  • The reporting framework– ensuring accountability, providing assurance that the right level of progress is being made and that intended outcomes are being achieved.

A total of 65 supporters, including 50 leading food & drink organisations such as Asda, Co-op, Coca Cola GB, M&S, Nestle UK & Ireland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, are already supporting the Water Roadmap, and WRAP is calling for more to join this growing movement of companies, who are committed to taking action on water.  

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