Managing water resources

Manage water resources sustainably and promote water efficiency.

It’s our job to keep the North West flowing by maintaining adequate water supplies for our customers, while balancing their needs against those of the environment.

This requires a process of continual planning; leakage reduction; raising customer awareness about the importance of saving water, and bespoke projects to minimise our impact in environmentally sensitive areas.

Water resources are, of course, affected by the weather. Overall, we experienced a relatively normal year, and no drought powers were required. Our security of supply index score (a score out of 100 for our ability to meet planned service levels) remained at 100 for the year.

Key activities and challenges:

Water Resource Management Plan: over the past few years we have been working hard with both regulators and stakeholders on our 2019 Water Resources Management Plan

West Cumbria water supply project: West Cumbria is an environmentally sensitive area, and we continue to work hard to minimise our impact on this special place and comply with the European Habitats Directive.

Ennerdale Water, a natural lake from which we abstract water for the local population, and the River Ehen, are incredibly sensitive environments. Ultimately, we need to cease taking water from Ennerdale entirely.

Following consultation, we identified Thirlmere as our preferred alternative source, and are proposing to invest in the construction of a pipeline to transport water from Thirlmere to West Cumbria.

Leakage: we have met our leakage target for 10 consecutive years and are on target to meet it yet again using an extensive programme of leakage control actions. During 2017/18 total leakage across the region averaged 453 Ml/d, against a target level of 462.7 Ml/d. We're developing a number of innovative new techniques to detect and manage leakage across our network including satellite technology and the UK's first water sniffer dog unit.

Water efficiency: We implement a wide range of activities to encourage our customers to be more water efficient and have a bespoke water efficiency campaign called Watertight.

Abstracting water from the environment: we have to continually balance the needs of our customers with the needs of the environment, by ensuring we don’t take too much water from naturally occurring sources.

Water we use as a company: we are accredited to the Carbon Trust Water Standard. The standard enables us to demonstrate that we practice what we preach by measuring, managing and reducing the water we use as a company. Our commitment to this is outlined in our Water Demand Management Policy (PDF 35 KB opens in new window).

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