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: Our Water Resources Management Plan defines our strategy to achieve a long-term, best value and sustainable plan for water supplies in the North West. It is developed, with customers and stakeholders, to ensure that we have an adequate supply to meet demand over the next 25 years.

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 achieved our leakage target for more than 10 years, and are on target to meet it yet again using an extensive programme of leakage control actions. We're developing a number of innovative techniques to prevent, detect and manage leakage across our network including intelligent pressure management and large scale deployment of acoustic logger technology.

Water efficiency: We implement a wide range of activities to encourage our customers to be more water efficient. Our water efficiency message is supported by year round campaigns and a dedicated webpage which has information, hints and tips and devices for customers to order.   

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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