Anglian Water prepares for future challenges with largest ever year of investment
03 February 2021
Water bills expected to fall despite record-breaking investment of £630million.
Anglian Water has today unveiled a huge £630million investment programme for the year ahead. The largest investment ever planned for a single year will be spent across the entire East of England, which is the driest and one of the fastest-growing parts of the country.
The funds will be ploughed into areas of work specifically aimed at preparing the region to meet the urgent challenges of climate change and population growth. But the company will also invest heavily in maintaining and improving customer service, continuing to drive down leakage, providing top quality drinking water and protecting against severe weather such as drought and flooding.
Projections suggest bills in the year ahead will fall despite the vast programme of work, as lock-down restrictions ease, and as a consequence we spend less time at home. The average water bill is expected be £12 lower next year at £422 for the year, or just £1.16 a day, with metered customers who only pay for what they use saving even more.
Operating in the driest region of the UK, Anglian Water has often highlighted the future challenges of water scarcity facing the East of England. The company’s largest ever five-year business plan, which began in 2020, outlined ground-breaking schemes specifically designed to tackle this challenge. The proposals were wholeheartedly endorsed by customers.
This is the second year of that cycle and will see boots-on-the-ground as this resilience work continues, including:
£59m to begin the first stages of the region’s biggest water infrastructure project for a generation, creating hundreds of kilometres of new interconnecting pipelines and associated infrastructure to move water around the region wherever and whenever needed. This is part of an ambitious new investment in resilience to keep taps running and minimise the impacts of future droughts.
£30million will be spent on the continuation of the company’s programme to roll out over 700,000 upgraded water meters across the region, helping customers to understand their water usage and identifying leaks in customer’s homes to better meet demand for water in the future
£133million to protect and enhance the natural environment by removing chemicals such as phosphates and ammonia from used water, and working with organisations like The Rivers Trusts on river restoration projects to protect some of the region’s unique chalk stream habitats. This work forms part of Anglian’s £800million Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), which is larger than that of any other water company.
Peter Simpson, CEO for Anglian Water, said: “Never has the provision of clean, safe water been so critical for health and hygiene as since the beginning of the pandemic. Our teams have worked tirelessly as key workers to keep taps running, toilets flushing and drains draining.
“The average bill of £1.16 per day pays for all the water you need to wash your hands, to drink and to cook, and for every flush of the loo and cycle of the dishwasher. But more than that, it helps us build and look after a water network that protects both the environment and our customers while looking ahead to future challenges too.
A £630 million investment programme
Over the next year 540 billion litres of water will be treated and supplied to customers, before being used and then treated and safely returned to the environment. It’s a vast operation that costs over a million pounds per day to run. It also makes a huge contribution to the economy, creating or securing thousands of jobs each year. Some of the schemes to maintain this service over the next 12 months will include:
£97million to lay new water mains and sewers and increase capacity at our water recycling works to accommodate the growing population in our region.
£13million will be spent on finding and fixing leaks, to keep our leakage levels at industry-leading lows.
£127million improving, maintaining and refurbishing hundreds of water treatment works, water recycling centres and pumping stations across our region.
£28million will be spent on maintaining, refurbishing and renewing parts of our 37,000km water pipe network.
£20million will be spent on maintaining, refurbishing and replacing parts of our 70,000km sewer network.
£6million to protect homes from flooding from sewers.
Continuing support for customers and communities during the pandemic
Every year Anglian Water commits £1million to help vulnerable customers facing financial hardship. Since the start of 2020, Anglian Water has extended financial support to over 300,000 households via its WaterCare Service, which offers assistance such as affordable tariffs and payment holidays for those who may be struggling to pay.
Alongside helping people who’ve needed financial support this year, the water company has also seen a 300% increase in customers signed up to its Priority Services Register, meaning over 100,000 of the most vulnerable customers will get help should they need it.
The company’s priority service offers help to a wide range of people - from those with sight, hearing, or mobility difficulties, to parents with babies under 12 months old. The service also provides support to customers with long or short-term medical needs should there be any interruption to their water supply.
For charities and organisation on the front line dealing with the pandemic in the community, Anglian launched it’s one million pound Positive Difference Fund in April. So far, half of the fund has been allocated, helping over 80,000 individuals in different ways, with the remainder currently open for applications via local Community Foundations.
Peter continued: “This is the biggest investment we’ve ever made in a 12-month period and it comes after what has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone. Our customers can be reassured that every pound they’ve paid us so far has been invested in doing the right thing: delivering industry- leading performance on leakage, protecting the environment and ensuring the quality of the water we provide for them. We believe our responsibility is to them, their communities and to the environment we look after.”