Environment

Our business is intrinsically linked to the environment as we rely on it for our raw product, water. For this reason we do all we can to ensure there is a clean, resilient and sustainable supply available for current and future water customers whilst ensuring there is enough water available to support the needs of the environment too. Click 'Discover More' to hear from our Head of Environment, Emma Goddard.

People

Our people are dedicated to providing you with the best service possible, whether they’re out in the field searching for leaks, managing our operational sites, testing the quality of your water or answering your queries. Each and every person within the business is dedicated to delivering you the safe reliable tap water supply you expect. Click 'Discover more' to hear from our Head of HR, Sian Jenkins.

Last updated 12-07-21

Interruptions to customers' water supply

You rely on us to supply top-quality drinking water to your taps 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Despite our ongoing programme to upgrade our infrastructure, burst pipes, site failures or third party damage to our network can sometimes happen.

Based on previous performance, our target for 2020/21 was for each property we serve to be impacted on average by an interruption for less than six minutes and 30 seconds.

How have we performed?

The average interruption during the year was 31 minutes and 27 seconds per property.

During 2020/21 this measure was heavily impacted by three emergency events which took longer to resolve than we would have liked.

One event was the record breaking heatwave, combined with the increased use in water due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions, which impacted customers in Mid Sussex during August 2020. You can read more about this in our dedicated case study  and in our summer demand report.

The others were interruptions which affected customers in the Rotherfield and Burgess Hill areas due to bursts on our large strategic mains. Strategic mains are large pipelines that often pass through fields, go under major roads or rivers and can therefore be problematic to repair.

Full reviews of these incidents have taken place and new processes have been put in place as a result.

We have a continuous improvement programme to help identify, track and implement new initiatives to help reduce interruptions to customers. This programme includes network learning and incident management workshops.

As we move forward for the remainder of the five year period, we will be focusing more on prevention as well as response activities through our calm network strategy. This uses the latest network monitoring technologies available to identify where system improvements can be made, helping reduce the number of failures on our strategic mains. Our top priority for this work is our strategic mains network within our Sussex region as customers have been significantly impacted by interruptions in previous years.

Failure to reach the target has resulted in a £3.088 million underperformance penalty payment.

The impact of Covid-19

The increase in water use due to the Covid-19 restrictions did have some impact on this measure, especially during the record breaking summer heatwave in August which affected supplies to Mid Sussex.

Case Studies

Nine Mile Ride engineering scheme

Keeping customers satisfied during major engineering works

A £1.4 million investment into revamping the water network for thousands of residents in Berkshire saw more than 60 per cent of customers claim they were satisfied with our communication strategy.

Key worker

The challenges and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic

The global Covid-19 pandemic presented many challenges but also a unique opportunity to adapt, change and modify practices across the business.

Bottled water station

The summer demand event

The combined effects of lockdown and prolonged periods of very hot weather led to unprecedented demand levels throughout summer 2020. This higher than normal usage continued throughout the year.

Sinkholes

Engineering excellence and agility brings sunken site back to life

In September 2020, the sudden appearance of sinkholes at one of our drinking water storage tanks in Kent triggered a chain of events and challenges which many across the business and beyond have not experienced before, and may never again.