The programme of CAMS in England and Wales was begun by the Environment Agency in 2001. CAMS are non-statutory plans, but they are used to inform the development of water company WRMPs and in assessing abstraction licensing, hence they provide an important source of information in the statutory process of water resource management.
The key objective of CAMS implementation in England and Wales is to provide a consistent and structured approach to local water resources management. It has made information on water resources publicly availability and provides an opportunity for greater public involvement in the process of managing abstraction at a catchment level. The balance between the available resource and the environmental needs of the
river, current actual abstractions and licensed abstractions determines the status of a water-course at specific assessment points. The CAMS approach is to produce flow-duration curves (see Sections 11.4 and 13.6) for a range of situations, including the natural, current and future demand scenarios. This enables the identification of river reaches that have the potential for further development, are over-abstracted, over-licensed or have no water available for further development, as illustrated in Fig. 17.4. The CAMS approach enables time-limited (normally 12-year) abstraction licenses to be issued in contrast to the historical practice of issuing licenses for perpetuity.
The CAMS divide catchments geographically into water resource management units, which can be classified using the scheme above. These may be based on surface water catchments, river reaches for larger river corridors or groundwater units.
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