Our five year business plan
We live in one of the driest areas of the UK. The East of England's rainfall is only half the national average and Cambridge is one of the driest parts of this region.
It is therefore vital that we conserve water supplies by protecting our existing water resource, ensuring our leakage figures are as low as possible and engaging with our customers to raise awareness of water efficiency.
Over the next five years (2010 to 2015) we are confident we can meet the target agreed by Ofwat of saving one litre per property, per day. Overall this should reduce household consumption by 2%.
Protecting our resources
All of the water supplied by the company is derived from groundwater sources and it is our policy to safeguard those to ensure we have adequate water resources to serve our customers now and in the future. You can find out more about how we are protecting our water resources here.
Because all water distribution systems include thousands of kilometres of pipe work they are unavoidably subject to water loss through minor leaks and seepage.
Each year Cambridge Water refurbishes more than 10km of existing mains and repairs around 200 leaks at people's homes. Our new water efficiency strategy means we aim to repair any significant leaks within two days of them being reported to us. We also schedule the renewal, refurbishment and relining of old mains before they cause problems.
Between 2006 and 2009 the company also expanded its district metering areas (DMAs) to cover Cambridge city and the surrounding villages. The DMAs not only allow the company to detect leaks quicker; they also allow us to record how much water is being used by our customers.
All this work means Cambridge Water consistently meets the leakage targets set by industry regulator Ofwat.
It is widely acknowledged that customers with a metered supply use between 10-15 per cent less water than those who are not on a meter, simply because they are more conscious of the water they use.
Over 60 per cent of Cambridge Water customers already have a water meter and the company plans to meter 88 per cent of properties over the next 25 years.
Engaging with the community
A significant way that we can increase water efficiency is through engaging with our customers to educate them about water conservation, in much the same way that we all know to turn the lights off in an empty room to save energy or re-use carrier bags to help protect the environment.
In 2008 Cambridge Water adopted a campaign encouraging people to use water wisely. This included a series of articles telling customers how they can save water and, in turn, save money off their water bills. We have also linked up with Save Water Save Money - one of the UK's largest online retailers of water efficiency products - to offer customers advice on how to save water and a selection of water saving products.
Stickers have also been produced and handed out at shows and charity events encouraging people to use water wisely, and there are many more activities planned for the future.
Hippos and Hogs
Cambridge Water supplies hippos or hogs free to all its customers on request. These are simple devices that reduce the capacity of the toilet therefore using less water per flush.
Supporting water re-use technologies
Cambridge Water supports the incorporation of rainwater harvesting and grey-water recycling in major new housing developments.
Supporting organisations that care for the environment
Cambridge Water contributes regionally and globally to organisations dedicated to protecting water and the environment. The company:
1) Is a member of the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust.
2) Works in partnership with the RSPB site at Fowlmere. Fowlmere’s reedbeeds and pools are fed by natural chalk springs and a chalk stream runs through the reserve. Special birds include kingfishers, water rails and nine species of warblers, including sedge warblers, reed warblers and grasshopper warblers. Starlings, thrushes and buntings, including corn buntings, roost on the reserve in winter. The wildlife oasis is also a good place to spot otters, badgers, dragonflies and deer. For more details visit the reserve’s website
3) Part-funds Waterwise, an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to reducing water wastage in the UK.
4) Cambridge Water is also part of Waterwise East, which aims to reduce demand for water in the East of England by influencing planners, developers and the public by acting as an authoritative focal point for water efficiency in the region.
5) Has made discretionary awards to local restoration projects for World Water Day on March 22.
6) Subscribes generously, along with customers and fellow water companies, to the international charity, WaterAid. WaterAid's aim is to overcome poverty by enabling the world's poorest people gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.