Pollution Incident Reduction Plan
In everything we do, we aim to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of all.

We work hard to make sure all our assets work as they should but at times things can go wrong and the below plan outlines what we will do reduce these incidents and also what we will do if an incident occurs.


We are fully committed to being as ethical, open, and honest as we can with you and so we publish a wide range of information including this plan.

Case studies
Digital Twins
Digital Twins are big news and have been worked on at the past three festivals in some form.


2020 will be the year where a lot of this work comes to fruition. So far, Northumbrian Water and Newcastle University have come together to progress an idea around incident response. The organisations are exploring the potential of using ‘Digital Twin′ technology - a virtual model of the real world, to help predict the impact of a burst pipe or heavy rainfall. 


The ‘Twincident′ idea would allow Northumbrian Water to run simulations of an area during an incident to show what could happen over a 24 hour period, in just a couple of minutes. This would be used to understand whether homes and businesses are in danger of being flooded, or environments being polluted, and prioritise the appropriate response actions. 


In addition to this, a company digital twin roadmap has been created to improve services and customer experience across many parts of the business.

Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership
The Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership (NIDP) is an innovative approach developed from the Tyneside Sustainable Sewerage Study.


It brings 13 Lead Local Flood Authorities across the North East together with the EA and NWL to reduce flood risk and promote sustainable drainage.


NIDP partners work together to prioritise and jointly fund integrated flood risk studies and joint delivery schemes to tackle flooding from sewers, rivers and surface water affecting communities across the North East.


Since 2012, over 20 drainage areas have been studied, leading to delivery of more than 10 schemes, including the multi-award-winning Tyneside projects at Brunton Park, Monkton and Fellgate. Partners have already jointly invested over £9m to reduce flood risk to around 1,000 homes, with more projects currently in construction or in the planning and design stages.


By managing risk from all sources and across all partners, the NIDP approach can deliver far greater benefits than simply flood reduction – habitat creation and water quality improvements are regular additional aspects to the schemes delivered to date. One of the advantages of the NIDP is that projects that are not viable as single-stakeholder projects can be developed jointly by partners to reduce flood risk for customers. This can also allow partners to make substantial cost savings which can be invested to reduce flood risk elsewhere. For example the Killingworth and Longbenton scheme is estimated to have saved in excess of £10m compared to a ‘traditional’ underground storage and sewer upsizing scheme.


Through the NIDP, partners are also challenging national processes to enable partnership working to be more easily undertaken and to be rolled out nationally to address flood risk and deliver multiple environmental benefits.


The approach is also being promoted by the DWMP development team under the 21st Century Drainage programme to ensure that future drainage and wastewater management planning places integrated flood risk at its core.


In 2017, NIDP partners supported the creation of an Integrated Flood Partnership Coordinator role, funded by NWG and the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee to drive this process forward. The NIDP has now developed an ambitious 10 year programme, which will undertake integrated studies in over 60 more drainage areas across the region between 2018 and 2028.


The NIDP has been recognised nationally as an exemplar of partnership working, shortlisted at the Water Industry Awards 2018 and winning the Project Excellence Partnership Award at the 2018 Flood and Coast Conference.

The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA)
CaBA is a highly ambitious national movement, supported by Defra, which embeds collaborative working and supports Catchment Partnerships to deliver cross-cutting environmental improvements.


Focus areas include rural land management, water stewardship, water quality, biodiversity, flood risk management and community engagement.


We support all nine Catchment Partnerships in our operating areas, working with other partners including the Environment Agency, Rivers Trusts, Wildlife Trusts, Groundwork and local authorities to deliver shared objectives. Since its launch in 2013, we have contributed more than £100k to CaBA, and also supported projects through staff time and operational activity, helping to leverage over £2m to improve our catchments.


CaBA already plays a key role in helping our regions meet the challenges of the Water Framework Directive, and will be influential in achieving the goals of the Government’s 25-year plan. It is still evolving, and with the investment we plan for 2020-25, we are confident it will help us achieve our ambitious goals for the environment.

Underground mapping
A pioneering underground digital map system that will help improve safety conditions for workers and reduce the time that the public are inconvenienced by road works has launched in the north east.


The innovative project is being led by Northumbrian Water and Ordnance Survey, in collaboration with Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, Openreach, Newcastle City Council, Sunderland City Council and Durham County Council, who have pooled data to create the underground map of part of the Sunderland area, which covers around 140,000 properties.


This is a UK first and real game changer for a number of industries. Since the conception of the idea in 2017, and then the focussed year’s worth of work in 2018, the map is now created in the north of England and underway in London. This project is now sponsored by the UK government.

Water Rangers
The Water Rangers scheme is a unique and award-winning initiative to protect the water environment that relies on the commitment and community pride of a team of dedicated volunteers.


Water Rangers are our eyes and ears along rivers and beaches, regularly checking the areas that are more prone to pollution, and reporting back incidents so we can respond swiftly.


Water Rangers also report issues outside of our responsibility, such as fly tipping, fallen trees, abandoned shopping trolleys, missing life belts, and invasive non-native species, so we can pass on this information to our partners. Water Rangers love what they do, and often ask how they can do more to support the environment for the benefit of their community.


Since it was launched in 2014, the Water Rangers team has grown to more than 60 members, monitoring over 50 routes across the North East of England. Our ambition for Water Rangers is big – we plan to grow the Water Rangers team, to expand their remit, and work with our partners to derive more benefits, linked to our ambition to develop collaborative communities within.