Man with daughter and dog next to a river

Our Purpose is – Caring for the essential needs of our communities and environment, now and for generations to come. We do this by providing reliable and affordable water and wastewater services for our customers. We make a positive difference by operating efficiently and investing prudently, to maintain a sustainable and resilient business.


Our Business Plan 2020-25 outlines our commitments, or promises, to you, our customers. We engaged with over 460,000 customers and stakeholders to shape this plan and we are committed to delivering on these commitments to our customers, environment and the communities we serve.


This is the third year we’re reporting back on this plan and we’re pleased to have achieved or beaten 25 out of our 43 PCs in 2022/23. We have both common measures (blue), which are standard across the industry, and bespoke measures (purple), which are unique to us.


For further details about each commitment please see our detailed 

Annual Performance Report and is subject to robust assurance, as set out in our Data Assurance Statement. For information about how we are performing in comparison to other water and sewerage companies, visit Discover Water.

Unrivalled Customer Experience

Delivering world class customer service continues to be something we strive for every day – getting things right first time, fast time, every time. We know our customers really value this and we’re always working hard to achieve this and ‘wow’ our customers.


We know that listening to our customers and having a deep understanding of what they expect from us now and in the future is important. We’ve long been committed to making sure our customers are at the heart of what we do. Always giving them the opportunity to have a strong voice, one that is heard and can shape the services we provide, allows us to do this consistently.


CASE STUDY: Leading in customer service


CASE STUDY: Save water, save energy


CASE STUDY: Working with trusted partners to support customers


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Affordable and Inclusive services

Water and sewerage services should be affordable for all of our customers, whatever their circumstances, and they should all have equal access to an unrivalled customer experience. Making sure bills are affordable for all of our customers is our industry leading aspiration. Our ambition is to eradicate water poverty by 2030 in our supply areas.


We understand that a household’s finances can go up and down and that some of our customers will face difficulties according to their personal circumstances and at different stages of their lives. We work hard to provide our customers with guidance on how we can help make sure their water bills are more affordable. We’ve helped many customers reduce their charges and provided many affordable payment plans. Through our Water Without the Worry campaign, we offer a wide range of free support, especially for those who were unexpectedly affected by the pandemic and people who were already having financial difficulties.


CASE STUDY: Sharing data to make accessing support easier


CASE STUDY: Believe Housing Partnership


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Improving the environment

As a water and wastewater operator, we have a significant interaction with rivers and coastal waters. Our customers value the environment highly, and we take our responsibility towards the water environment very seriously.


As an ethical company, we want to manage our assets and operations to avoid environmental effects and to benefit the environment wherever possible. Our interactions with the water environment offer opportunities for us to go above and beyond our regulatory obligations.


This will allow us to play our part in protecting and improving the rivers and beaches within our regions. It will also help safeguard the natural capital that we rely on as a business, and will help us build environmental resilience in the face of growth and climate change pressures.


CASE STUDY: NE Catchment Hub - Industry-leading partnership with The Rivers Trust


CASE STUDY: Stormharvester – preventing pollution with help from AI


CASE STUDY: Emission Possible - Solar


CASE STUDY: Bluespaces activity - Delivering 250km of water environment improvements


CASE STUDY: Branch Out - Delivering benefits for our natural environment


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Reliable and resilient – water quality

Customers see the provision of high quality drinking water as essential to our core service offering. When our customers turn on the tap, they expect the water to be clear of colour and free of any unpleasant taste or smell. Any issue with this may cause them to worry about its wholesomeness. We need to ensure a continuous supply of high-quality water to promote customer confidence and trust.


Our customers judge water quality through the appearance, taste and smell of the product we deliver to their homes. Our customers generally have high levels of satisfaction with our service, and expect high levels of performance from us.


CASE STUDY: Project Pipeline - Future-proofing supply in Co Durham and the Tees Valley


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Reliable and resilient – water

Our customers expect that water will flow when they turn on the tap, and that they should not be affected by shortages of water. Providing a reliable supply depends on us planning for the future, abstracting from sustainable sources of water, and using water wisely.


Our customers rely on this continuous source of water to meet their daily needs, so any interruption to water supply can cause real inconvenience. This is of particular importance for our customers who need additional help and support, and those who have a medical condition or young children, as well as for businesses that rely on water.


Burst water mains cause disruption to our customers through supply interruptions, discolouration and pressure issues. They can also cause property damage and disrupt infrastructure and transport networks. Our customers expect us to maintain our water supply networks to avoid issues and to minimise inconvenience for their households and communities.


Leakage increases the amount of water we need to treat and the amount of energy and chemicals used to clean and transport water.


CASE STUDY: Dealing with a freeze-thaw event


CASE STUDY: Water resilience innovations - a flexible approach to alternative water supplies


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Reliable and resilient – wastewater (north east of England only)

We recognise that sewer flooding is the worst service failure our customers can experience. Our NW customers expect us to take their wastewater away from their properties and to transport it for treatment, and to do so in a way that has no adverse impacts on the environment.


Sometimes factors such as heavy rainfall, blockages, hydraulic incapacity and sewer collapses impact on our ability to do this. Importantly, customer behaviour can have a significant impact on our ability to provide an effective sewerage service.


CASE STUDY: Inspiring the nation to ‘Bin the Wipe’


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Performance Action Plan

Each year Ofwat, the regulator for the water industry in England and Wales, reviews the overall performance of the 17 largest water and wastewater companies.

It examines how well each company is doing in certain areas including leakage, customer satisfaction and pollution. There were five areas where we hit or bettered our commitment to customers and seven areas where we need to improve to achieve them.

We have developed a clear action plan to strengthen our performance.


Click here to download our Performance Action Plan.