Reliable water & wastewater services
Provide a safe, clean and reliable water supply, dispose of your wastewater, and reduce the risk of flooding.
We are committed to providing great water to our customers by investing in assets such as the Haweswater Aqueduct and through the West Cumbria water supply project.
Disposing of wastewater is just as important, but it comes with its challenges.
Intensive rainfall is becoming a common feature of modern weather patterns, which is affecting our sewer network. It can become overwhelmed and cause sewer flooding, which is a distressing, unpleasant experience for customers, and a potential environmental risk. In response, we must adapt our sewer network and the way we manage it.
Providing clean water and removing wastewater is our major contribution to the health and wellbeing of customers and the wider public in the North West. Protecting their health is a fundamental business obligation.
Details on how we intend to invest in our water and wastewater service over the next 25 years can be found in our water resources management plan.
Future rainfall pattern
We expect rainfall patterns to change over the next 25 years with wetter winters and drier summers with more intense storm events. This can be seen in the graph below:
It’s important to recognise, however, that there is a limit to how much we can achieve, while keeping customers’ bills affordable. Working with partner organisations to tackle this issue from several different angles is vital – as upsizing every length of sewer pipe to increase capacity is simply cost prohibitive.
Nevertheless, we recognise that we still have more to do in this area and have plans in place to continue bringing the number of flooding incidents down.
Decreasing sewer flooding
Here are some of the steps we’re taking to decrease sewer flooding.
Investing in our network: we are investing money to increase the capacity of the sewer network, in areas prone to flooding to remove properties from the flood risk register – a list of properties in our region which have suffered sewer flooding in the past, or are believed to be at risk of flooding.
More efficient management of our network: using a centralised system which receives information from remote monitoring devices installed on our pipes, we can respond more quickly to issues, identify problem parts of the network and predict future trends with greater accuracy.
Mitigation team: our sewer flooding mitigation team investigate sewer flooding incidents, and where possible, fit protection devices to minimise the impact. They provide advice and measures such as anti-flood air bricks, disconnecting cellar drains, raising doorways and providing flood proof doors and gates.
Working in partnership: the root causes of flooding are often complex and we often cannot resolve issues alone. Our work is part of a wider jigsaw involving many partners. We continue to freely share our data and expertise with other organisations and contribute to local plans to manage flood risk in different geographical areas across the North West.
Supporting Sustainable Urban Drainage: we have continued to work with Defra, WaterUK and developers on the barriers to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and other issues around new development. SuDS should include features such as soakaways, permeable pavements and ponds to capture or slow down rainwater run-off and ease pressure on the sewer network. We’ve incorporated these principles into our own infrastructure projects.
We deliver services that are essential to the protection of public health and work hard to ensure our processes and procedures take account of the latest developments in public health practice.
Whilst public health incidents are preventable, sometimes things do go wrong and if they do we will react quickly, and always find out why in order to prevent a recurrence
Our in-house team provides professional and authoritative advice on issues which may affect our business. We maintain regular contact with public health officials across the North West and undertake practical exercises with them to test our emergency responses.
Most customers don’t realise that as well as supplying their clean water and taking their wastewater away, we’re constantly analysing the quality of our product at our accredited laboratory. Through a constant process of sampling and testing, we make sure we conform to exacting regulatory standards, protect the environment, and keep our customers safe.