Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
Information on this page follows the SASB water utilities and services reporting standard.
SASB standards enable consistent disclosure of material sustainability information mainly for companies in the United States. As many of our shareholders are located in North America we are publishing comparable SASB data here on our corporate website. This covers the main SASB data points for the water utilities and services industry of which we are part.
We already integrate many of these metrics in our Annual Report but to make it easier for those searching for the information we will be publishing the data here, in one table. We provide updates to the data below once a year following our March end of year reporting cycle.
Total energy use: 960.2 GWh
Total electricity purchased: 633.3 GWh
Percentage of electricity that is renewably sourced: 97%
Our energy management strategy has four objectives:
Efficient use of energy;
Maximising self-generation and direct supply opportunities;
Reducing costs (through time of use); and
Supply resilience to ensure we can deliver our services.
In 2021/22 we set a record for renewable energy generation of 210 GWh through focus on end-to-end performance of our bioresources operations, which produce electricity, heat and biomethane.
Each year we serve a growing population, driving increased energy use as we strive to achieve environmental performance targets. We seek to mitigate this through our energy management programme and in recent years have maintained consistent energy use in the face of these considerable upward pressures. You can find out more by reading our energy and carbon report on page 95 of our annual report.
Building on our long-standing approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, we integrate consideration of climate related risks and opportunities directly into our business planning to influence strategy and behaviours throughout the organisation.
You can read more about our approach to climate change in the TCFD section of our Annual Report on pages 86-97 and more about our adaptation and mitigation plans here.
Zero - According to Environment Agency classification United Utilities does not have any areas categorised as water stressed. You can find out more about the water stressed areas here.
Number of impounding reservoirs: 165
Water from impounding reservoirs: 1205.33Ml/d
Providing 59.8% of water input
Number of river abstractions: 25
Water from river abstractions: 666.87Ml/d
Providing 33.1% of water input
Number of groundwater works excluding managed aquifer recharge water supply schemes: 71
Water from groundwater works, excluding managed aquifer recharge water supply schemes: 143.55Ml/d
Providing 7.1% of water input
For more detail see Annual Performance Report tables 2022: 5A
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.
We have clear commitments and set out what we plan to do to improve water quality performance in our Annual Performance Report pages 33-42 and ensuring a reliable supply of water now and in the future on pages 43-55. You can read our annual performance report here.
Zero - We have no customers supplied by recycled water.
As part of our long term plans we have assessed the use of recycled water i.e. waste water converted into potable water. This is currently not appealing to customers and proves more expensive than our other options.
We detail our water efficiency activity and what we are doing to reduce per capita consumption in our Annual Performance Report page 48. This is largely about changing our customers behaviour trying to get them to conserve or recycle water.
Discharge permit compliance (numeric) (STW & WTW)- Percentage”. Was 99.0% in the published report.
The company works extensively in partnership with regulators and local and regional environmental and special interest groups to identify and mitigate releases of pollutants detrimental to the Environment. Some examples of concurrent activities which the company is leading on or participating in include:
- Commitments to kick start a river revival over the next three years. The four-point plan sets out that we will; make sure the company’s operations progressively reduce impact to river health; be open and transparent about its performance and plans; make rivers beautiful, supporting others to improve and care for them; and create more opportunities for everyone to enjoy rivers and waterways. Find out more about Better Rivers: Better North West here.
- Participation in a multi-phase Chemical Investigation Programme identifying new chemicals in domestic sources, quantifying their prevalence in the environment itself and trialling new technologies to assess their efficacy at removal.
- Ongoing participation in annual Pollution Inventory Returns contributing to the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register. Quantifying pollutants and the loads released to the environment from our facilities and identifying changes in the nature of discharge composition over time.
- A ‘No deterioration’ strategy looking at identifying areas with the potential to fall to a lower classification under the Water Framework Directive and proactively intervening to arrest any detrimental trend.
- Trialling catchment based permits, which consider multiple treatment assets as a combined system rather than pollution sources in isolation. Intervention and optimisation is then targeted at the system including working with 3rd party contributors such as farmers to reduce overall contamination of the environment.
- An industry leading culture of innovation within the company, recognised by our regulator, Ofwat.
During calendar year 2021 we reported over 386,614 sample results to the drinking water quality regulator (DWI):
Acute health based violations: <0.001%
Non acute health based: 0.018% (predominantly associated with customer’s internal plumbing)
Non health based violations: 0.020%
We carry out Drinking Water Safety Plan risk assessments from source to tap to understand any potential risks to drinking water quality. These risk assessments are kept under continuous review and include any emerging contaminants.
As part of our ongoing assessments we review the latest research and identify potential contaminants of concern. If required, we will undertake additional monitoring to understand the risk. We also participate in industry working groups and research projects to assess the risk of new contaminants, understanding likely concentration and treatment options should they be present in the raw water sources.
42,000 kilometres of water pipes - See page 19 of our Annual Report.
We have outperformed our leakage target for the 16th year running and with annual leakage at 413.9 Ml/d and a three year average leakage of 426.1 Ml/d the amount of water lost from our network is at the lowest ever level reported in the North West. For more detail see our Annual Performance Report page 44.
Total length of potable mains renewed: 12.4 kilometres.
1,243,968 m3 per day arrives at our Wastewater Treatment Works, and 2,225,762 m3 per day is the volume of Wastewater returned per day through Surface Water and Highways.
78,000 kilometres of wastewater pipes - See page 19 of our Annual Report.
Commercial and Industrial: N/A as we are the wholesalers
You can have a read of our charges scheme booklet here if you want to find out more about our charges.
Household properties billed for unmeasured water: 1,639,405
Household properties billed for measured water: 1,444,438
Total household properties billed for water: 3,083,843
Non-Household properties billed for unmeasured water: 14,773
Non-Household properties billed for measured water: 142,887
Total Non-Household properties billed for water: 157,660
Household properties billed for unmeasured wastewater: 1,619,154
Household properties billed for measured wastewater: 1,470,076
Total household properties billed for wastewater: 3,089,230
Non-Household properties billed for unmeasured wastewater: 14,463
Non-Household properties billed for measured wastewater: 134,277
Total Non-Household properties billed for wastewater: 148,740
Measured: 150,175,328 m3/year
Unmeasured: 235,043,072 m3/year
Measured: 124,152,652 m3/year
Unmeasured: 4,542,107 m3/year
Zero - We do not disconnect residential customers for non payment.
We seek to adapt the nature and scale of our affordability support schemes in response to changing economic and social circumstances. Recognising the cost of living challenges our customers are facing we have proactively taken a number of steps to identify customers in need of support and improve the accessibility and awareness of the help that’s available. We’ve increased promotion of the wide range of support available recognising that many customers who were just about managing to pay their bills before may now struggle to make ends meet, alongside our financial assistance schemes we’re talking to customers about metering, flexible payment plans, budgeting and the holistic debt advice specialist 3rd party organisations can offer.
We do not offer different water tariffs. We offer water meters which aids with conservation and helping people pay. You can read more about water meters here.
Over the current AMP period we have saved a total of 2536.71 m3
We encourage our customers to be efficient when using their water, by providing them with useful tips on how to save water, and access to free water saving tools. You can read more about our water efficiency programme here.