Affinity Water is the UK’s largest water-only company. It serves three geographically separate regions in the South East of England. Affinity Water generates income from supplying water to both residential and, via intermediaries, commercial consumers within a 4,515km¹ supply area. In doing so, Affinity Water maintains 95 water treatment works and over 100 reservoirs. Affinity Water’s 60-year water resource management plan addresses the key themes of resource constraints as a result of climate change¹, environmental protection of natural habitats and increasing demand due to a growing population².
Water Resource Management Plan
The water resource management plan is based on three key principles:
- Manage existing resources and develop strategic options to secure additional water supply;
- Partner with neighbouring water companies to form part of a coherent strategy in each region; and
- Enhance ability to cope with different types of weather and climatic events including drought.
Affinity Water invests in infrastructure to ensure efficient distribution of water to its consumers. It plans to spend c. £110m developing additional water treatment capabilities, including evaluating new strategic resources, that could provide up to an extra 100 million litres of potable water per day. Affinity Water has identified potential supply transfer schemes as a means to secure additional water supply for customers within its supply area. For example, water from the Minworth Treatment Works via the Grand Union Canal could, if developed, supply Affinity Water’s central region with an additional 50 million litres per day.
Affinity Water plans to invest £59m in order to deploy meters across 80% of customer sites by 2025 and 90% of sites by 2045. Meters give customers the opportunity to reduce their costs if they use less water. It is estimated that the metering programme can deliver an 18% reduction in demand. Affinity Water is also supporting and encouraging customer side demand management by providing and installing free water savings devices to metered customers as well as providing individuals with advice on how to reduce water consumption during their daily routine.
Affinity Water plans to spend c. £53m on projects to protect the environment and increase the region’s resilience to drought. Affinity Water remains committed to restoring the natural flow of chalk streams and creating a sustainable habitat for life within and surrounding its chalk streams. For example, in partnership with the Environment Agency, the Luton Lea River Catchment partnership and Luton and Dacorum Borough councils, Affinity Water completed restoration projects at three chalk streams in 2019, which will help to reduce flooding and promote biodiversity, including native species of plant and wildlife. The Water Resource Management Plan prioritises water supply solutions with the focus on sourcing water from rivers and transfer of water via canals instead of water from chalk catchments.
1 The Affinity Water supply area is in one of the driest parts of the UK, receiving 33% less rainfall than average for the period from July 2016 to April 2017
2 Population forecast to increase by 23% by 2045