We supply 1,750 million litres of water every day to 3 million homes and 200,000 businesses and take away used water through 76,000km of sewer pipes. The big issues are set to include:
Protecting the environment:
The North West boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, which is home to a variety of habitats and is a major driver of tourism. We will play our part in continuing to protect these environments, many of which are ecologically sensitive. We will also meet the requirements of new environmental legislation by working with our partners to find innovative and sustainable ways of working.
Preparing for a growing population:
The number of households we supply is expected to grow from 3 million now to 3.6 million by 2040. As people live longer, there will be a higher proportion of older customers. These changing demographics will affect our services – from our core water and wastewater services to support services such as customer liaison. There will also be technological advances and changes in the way in which we communicate with one another. We will adapt our customer services to meet the demands and expectations of our customers.
Making full use of available technology:
In the decades to come, there will be exciting new opportunities to generate our own energy, use more sophisticated network modelling and environmental modelling, and explore ‘open architectures’ – where our core service can be connected to other systems that enable us to be more resilient to extreme weather. We must embrace these technology driven changes to improve efficiency and customer service.
Responding to a changing climate:
As the UK climate continues to change, with severe dry periods becoming increasingly common, we must ensure we continue to have resilient water resources and an infrastructure capable of moving water efficiently around the region. We must also seek to tackle flooding incidents caused by the intensive bursts of rainfall, which are becoming more frequent due to changing weather patterns.
Embracing regulatory reform of the water industry:
Over the coming years, legislative changes will encourage greater competition between providers and open up opportunities to trade water between regions. We will continue to work hard for the benefit of our customers, to ensure that we’re in the best position to adapt as competition increases. We must also provide tailored, responsive services to our business customers, some of whom are already able to choose their water provider, due to deregulation.
Keeping bills affordable:
Our region has one of the largest populations of economically deprived households in the country. Many families are struggling to make ends meet as the economic downturn continues to bite. We will strike the right balance between keeping bills affordable whilst ensuring our water and wastewater infrastructure receives the investment it requires.