Anglian Water scores ‘A’ grade for climate change response

17 December 2020


Anglian Water has become one of the first companies in the UK to set out how it is preparing for the impacts of climate change in Defra’s latest round of adaptation reporting under the Climate Change Act. Having issued its draft report for consultation in March, the company has now submitted its final report to Defra, a year ahead of the reporting deadline. 
The water company has also been recognised this week for its leadership in corporate sustainability by one of the most respected climate research organisations in the world, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), securing a place on its prestigious ‘A List’ for its approach to tackling climate change. 
Anglian was recognised for its actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy, based on the data reported by the company through CDP’s 2020 climate change questionnaire. 

The challenges posed by a rapidly changing climate in the East of England, where Anglian operates, have driven the company to make significant strides on its journey towards becoming a carbon-neutral business over the last decade, and to adapt its operations and infrastructure to address the increasing risks of drought and flood.  

The adaptation report details the actions Anglian Water has already undertaken to prepare for these challenges and sets out its plans for substantial further investment over the next five and 25 years. These adaptation activities will be delivered alongside Anglian Water’s commitment to become a net zero carbon business by 2030. 

The report outlines the key risks the water company has identified, including the physical risks from drought and flooding as well as risks to the region’s natural capital, as well as highlighting the importance of working with other organisations and customers to make the East of England resilient to the impacts of drought and flooding.  Anglian was the first of around 90 organisations in the UK to publish its draft report. 

This is the company’s first Adaptation Report to include a description of some of the climate transition risks that arise from the process of adjusting to a lower-carbon economy; in particular, the financial risk and opportunity associated with securing investment and managing its energy and carbon costs. 

Anglian Water Chief Executive Peter Simpson said: 

“Today is a proud day in our journey in adapting to climate change. Working to ensure resilient water supplies for the communities we serve, and to protect and enhance our environment, has been central to the way we do business for many years. Together with rapid population growth in our region, the climate emergency constitutes Anglian Water’s most acute challenge. 

“Adapting our operations and infrastructure to reflect the changing climate is critical for our long-term resilience. To be recognised by CDP for this and our wider progress in cutting emissions as we work towards reaching net zero reinforces that we’re on the right track. 

Plans for the next five years include:  

  • Creating up to 500km of interconnecting pipelines to enable the movement of water to areas where it is most needed. The programme will also make it possible to reduce the amount of water taken from the environment, as well as strengthening resilience by reducing the number of homes and businesses which rely on a single water source to 14 per cent by 2025.
  • Reducing leakage, already the lowest in the UK, by a further 22% versus a 2017/18 baseline and halve it by 2050 
  • Beginning to roll out smart meters across the Anglian Water region to help customers manage demand and reduce bills, and to pinpoint leaks 
  • Eliminate the risk of severe water restrictions in a 1:200 drought for all its customers by 2025 
  • 50 per cent increase in partnership funding for flood protection to £12 million between 2020 and 2025  
  • Reduce internal sewer flooding incidents for customers by 24 per cent between 2020-2025 
  • Publish long-term strategic plans for Drainage and Wastewater Management and Water Resources Management, which will include assessments against the potential for 2°C and 4°C temperature rise scenarios 

Peter added: “Adapting well to climate change will enable us to meet the ambitious goals we have set and deliver the commitments we have made to our customers in a way that keeps bills affordable. Climate change won’t wait for us, the time for action is now in order to secure a resilient future for our region.” 


The full report can be viewed here