StreamLine: The regulatory advice service for water innovators

Welcome to StreamLine, the regulatory advice service for innovators and businesses in England and Wales.

We do not provide advice on activities such as environment permits, planning and substances in contact with drinking water (Regulation 31), which are charged for. Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on where you can go for this advice.

If you want help with your innovation or contacts within water companies, you can find more information further down this page.

Terms of service

We aim to provide non-binding regulatory advice on current rules and regulations relating to:

  • Overall legislation, rules and regulation of water.
  • Regulation and monitoring of drinking water quality.
  • Regulation and monitoring of environmental quality.
  • Economic and service regulation of public water and wastewater services.

Your enquiry will be shared and responded to by:

  • Drinking Water Inspectorate: the drinking water quality regulator for England and Wales.
  • Environment Agency: the environmental regulator in England.
  • Ofwat: the economic regulator of water and wastewater in England and Wales.

We aim to respond within 10 working days for straightforward enquiries. It may take up to 20 working days if we need further information from you or the query is complex. We will let you know if that is the case.

For advice on environmental regulations in Wales please contact Natural Resources Wales.

There are different regulators for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

For help in Scotland, please contact the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS).

Drinking water quality is regulated in Scotland by Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (dwqr) and their website is: Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (

For help in Northern Ireland, please contact the Utility Regulator.

Getting help with your innovation

As well as StreamLine, there are organisations you can contact to get your help with innovation.

  • Individual water and wastewater companies and water retailers may be interested in working with you to develop your innovation further. Get their contact details below.
  • Spring is the water sector’s innovation centre of excellence which launched in December 2021. They provide information about different funding routes, share contacts, knowledge and expertise and run challenges to address issues the sector faces.
  • Ofwat runs innovation competitions, where you can partner with a water company to win funding for your innovation.
  • Water UK is the representative body for water companies and retailers in the UK.
  • Supply chain membership associations, such as Future Water Association and British Water, can put you in touch with other suppliers or provide advice on how to become a supplier in the water sector.
  • Many UK Universities offer innovation spaces or support. UK Universities represents over 140 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Innovate UK is the UK innovation agency. They can provide advice and support for innovating in the UK.
  • Private investors and innovation catapults may also invest in your innovation for a share of any profits. You should seek professional financial or legal advice before entering into any agreement.
  • For advice about environmental regulation in Wales, please contact Natural Resources Wales
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own economic and environmental regulators.

‌Frequently Asked Questions

We are not able to provide information about chargeable activities. If you need information relating to environmental permits or planning, please use the links below:

Where do I find out about Environmental permits?

Permitting information can be found on GOV.UK: Environmental management : Environmental permits - detailed information - GOV.UK (

How do I find out about the services, planning and regulations the Environment Agency are responsible for?

Services and information can be found here: Services and information - Environment Agency - GOV.UK (

How can I obtain planning advice on proposals?

The Environment Agency can give a free preliminary opinion to applicants who consult us on their proposals outside the statutory consultation process. This will include advice on what allowances to apply and the appropriate approach to incorporating the allowances into assessments.

There is a charge for more detailed pre-application planning advice and reviews of flood risk modelling.

Contact your lead local flood authority through your local council for advice on flood risk from local watercourses (surface or groundwater).

How do I obtain consent for using a process or product in connection with a drinking water supply?

Drinking Water Inspectorate provide advice on their Frequently Asked Question page – FAQ6

How can I apply to use a product for research purposes in water intended for drinking, washing, cooking etc?

Drinking Water Inspectorate provide advice on their Frequently Asked Question page – FAQ16