Review current water governance model: Developing a sustainable and holistic water governance model for Greater Manchester


Water governance in the North West River Basin District generally, and within Greater Manchester, has a complicated structure with a number of groups and partnerships taking an interest in different parts of the water cycle.

Specific water management challenges such as the floods of winter 2015-16 and the prolonged periods of dry weather in 2018 along with recent opportunities, for example installation of natural flood risk management measures across Greater Manchester, highlight the need for a greater understanding of who is involved in the sector and the nature of their role.

Greater Manchester currently does not have a streamlined water governance structure that promotes and enables integration across the water cycle and which builds on the emergence of city-region structures across the natural environment and infrastructure sectors.

The complex governance structure currently in place has been recognised as a barrier to more effective delivery of the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive and other water management initiatives.

What we are doing

 Natural Course beneficiaries and their affiliates will work together to organise a Greater Manchester Water Shared Forum as part of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group annual conference in 2021. The event will help to raise awareness and understanding of roles and activities across the water cycle in Greater Manchester, provide an opportunity to network with other organisations and partnerships and identify potential opportunities for collaborative working.

To help understand the issues and opportunities in more detail, a report outlining the findings of water governance studies in Phase 2, and more widely across the NW River Basin District in Phase 3, will be produced.

A new approach to water governance in GM will be developed and trialled over Phase 3. This will be written up a case study to help identify a sustainable and holistic approach to water governance for Greater Manchester. Revised governance arrangements will enable the various elements of the water cycle to be managed more effectively across the city region.

Who else is involved?

 Greater Manchester Combined Authority alongside local authorities within Greater Manchester, and Natural Course Beneficiaries who are currently involved in the governance of the water cycle across Greater Manchester (for example, United Utilities and Environment Agency).

The project will involve close liaison and working with existing water governance bodies, the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group and the catchment partnerships that cover Greater Manchester.

Project location

Greater Manchester

Latest update

New water governance structures emerging in Greater Manchester through merging of the Greater Manchester Flood & Water Management Board into the Planning & Housing Commission structure.  They are continuing to trial new approach to water governance in Greater Manchester through Blue & Green Infrastructure challenge group and the Greater Manchester natural capital group.

Greater Manchester Shared Water Forum will be held in June 2021, as part of the annual Natural Capital Group conference.