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Thames Water



Thames Water is the UK's largest water and wastewater Services Company serving London and the Thames Valley. Its role in providing water and sewerage services means it plays a vital part in the lives of millions of people across its 13,750 km2 operational area. Every day, it supplies 2,600 million litres of tap water to 8.7 million customers across London and the Thames Valley, carrying out over 500,000 tests per year to ensure its drinking water meets stringent UK and European standards. It also removes and treats 2,800 million litres of sewage for an area covering 13.8 million customers. Its 349 sewage treatment works include Beckton, in East London, which is the largest in Europe.

Further information

Thames Water is adapting to the impacts of climate change as part of core business strategy. It is actively building capacity both in terms of assets and employees to ensure that its business is able to respond effectively to the impacts of climate change, working within its business and with local communities. 

Adaptation Reporting Power: This report details Thames Water’s understanding and preparedness to respond to the impacts of climate change (as requested by the UK Government under the Climate Change Act 2008).

Five Year Plan (2010-2015): The water industry works in 5-year planning cycles. Thames Water’s priorities over this 5-year period include maintaining a superior level of customer service, reducing the number of properties at risk of sewer flooding, cutting leakage and ensuring safe and reliable water supplies taking into account forecasted population growth and the impacts of climate change.

Water Resources Management Plan (2010-2035): In its long-term planning, Thames Water must cope with and respond to increased pressure on water supplies from population growth, climate change and increased demand.

Twenty-Five Year Plan (2010-2035): 'Taking Care of Water' is Thames Water’s Strategic Direction Statement (SDS) for 2010 to 2035. This plan outlines how Thames Water will respond to a wide range of issues including climate change, leakage and improving water efficiency whilst delivering high quality customer service. The SDS was a culmination of Thames Water's largest-ever public consultation exercise, which included discussion groups with customers, stakeholder workshops, interviews with MPs and an online consultation, prompting over 2,600 individual comments. The SDS has identified three main areas for action between 2010 and 2015:

1. Water Resources - climate change specifically being taken into account through headroom.

2. Sewerage/Sewer Flooding - improving the understanding of catchments and climate change with respect to sewer flooding. Also uplifting design standards for new assets to a 1 in 30 year level of flood protection.

3. Flood Resilience - undertaken assessment using Environment Agency guidance looking at the potential risk of a 1/100 flood + 20% and developing a staged plan to improve protection between 2010 and 2020. Also working closely with financial regulator (Ofwat) on the development of an analytical framework to assess asset resilience to flood hazards. (Pages 13, 48 and 49 specifically deal with climate change)

Annual Performance Report 2010/2011: Progress on leakage is reported to Ofwat annually against agreed targets. Thames Water has surpassed its leakage targets for the fifth year running, despite a fourfold increase in burst pipes during the coldest start to winter in 100 years (2010). This report describes the performance of the business including leakage and climate change.

Corporate Responsibility Report: Thames Water report externally on its wider performance through an independently verified Corporate Responsibility report, covering climate change and leakage.

Climate Change Policy:

Supply Chain: In 2008, Thames Water started to actively engage its supply chain on climate change, adaptation, carbon and sustainability. Thames Water has challenged its suppliers to consider their contribution to climate change, what adaptation actions they need to take to ensure they can maintain service levels to the business as climate change impacts increase and to also begin to assess the carbon intensity of the goods and services they provide.

Regional focus Europe
Sector Business
Water resources
Adaptation delivery activity Capacity building
Climate-resilient development planning
Communications and awareness-raising
Monitoring and evaluation
Risk/vulnerability mapping
NWP work area
Climate hazards Drought
Operational scale National

Organizations, institutions and private sector companies at all levels and in a wide range of sectors can become engaged with the NWP by becoming a partner and making Action Pledges. Information about how organizations can become engaged with work on adaptation under the NWP can be found here.