Shoring up sustainable water supply in East England


Anglian Water – an asset in our global infrastructure portfolio - has broken ground on the largest drinking water grid project that the United Kingdom (UK) has seen for a generation.

The £400million project will create a new 500km-network of pipelines, which will be longer than any motorway in the UK. The pipeline network is designed to transfer water from well-supplied areas to regions where it is less readily available.

Without action, regions in the east of England are predicted to experience water shortfalls of up to 30 million litres a day by 2025. There is a heightened risk of water demand outstripping supply in those regions due to a combination of strong population growth forecasts and the potential for climate change to further exacerbate conditions that make it one of the driest parts of the country.

The project is part of a broader resource management plan that seeks to build long-term drought resilience into the network and shore up sustainable water supply for Anglian’s six million customers.

We have worked closely with Anglian Water - the largest water and wastewater company in England and Wales by geographic area - since 2006 to build a sustainable business model, which supports long-term investment performance through meeting customer and community needs for safe, reliable and affordable water services.

In 2010, the business launched ‘Love Every Drop’, a strategy designed to champion sustainability and drive improved social outcomes through everything it does. Later, in 2019, Anglian changed its Articles of Association to become the first utility to legally enshrine public interest within the constitutional make up of its business, setting new standards for a social contract with both customers and stakeholders.

Anglian’s climate change adaptation strategies are being tackled in conjunction with its commitment to reaching net zero carbon by 2030. The company plans to use innovative technology to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impacts associated with its project delivery and operations. Anglian already has a strong track record in this area, having reduced the embodied carbon of its infrastructure projects by 61% since 2010.

Recently, Anglian Water partnered with academia, businesses and other water companies to develop two innovative projects – the ‘Triple Carbon Reduction Solution’ and ‘Safe Smart Systems’.

The Triple Carbon Reduction Solution will use new technologies to target a step-change reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and electricity consumption in used water treatment, and will provide a renewable energy source through green hydrogen – produced using renewable energy to split hydrogen from water through electrolysis.

The Safe Smart Systems project will leverage AI data-driven analytics to monitor and reduce leakage, interruptions, and pressure issues across the whole water cycle – creating environmental and customer benefits. The project focuses on the first steps to achieve autonomous control in water systems across the UK and potentially represents a transformational change for the water sector.

Both projects have been awarded funding by the UK water regulator Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge.

In acknowledgement of its leadership in social responsibility, Anglian was chosen as co-lead for the Water Theme at the recent COP26 Resilience Hub - a virtual and physical presence created to highlight resilience and adaptation to climate change. Through the Water Theme, Anglian highlighted the positive social, environmental and economic outcomes that investing in water resilience can bring.

Anglian’s practice of continuous reinvestment back into its assets reflects its company purpose: “to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve through our commitment to Love Every Drop.” Delivering on this purpose requires major construction projects, sustainability programs and other initiatives, which in turn, lead to outperformance of operational targets, benefiting customers, communities and investors now and over the decades to come.