Regulation in the water sector concerns wastewater discharge standards, sludge disposal, water quality, pressure, pricing and reliability. It is set by federal, state, or municipal governments. In some countries, environmental standards and leakage maxima are also enforced, while fines may also be imposed to ensure compliance. This is currently the situation in the U.K. water industry, where the regulator, OFWAT, forced one water utility to repay GBP 5 million to its customers after missing its 2010–2011 leakage target. Regulation is essential for achieving long-term policy objectives, equitable treatment of all stakeholders and protection of consumers from unfair practices by water operators.
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