Glossary

  Description
1 mg/l 1 μg/l 1 ng/l (milligram/litre) is 1 part in 1,000,000 (microgram/litre) is 1 part in 1,000,000,000 (nanogram/litre) is 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000
Abstraction The process by which water is pumped from the ground. Cambridge Water has to apply to the Environment Agency for abstraction licenses
Aquifer   An underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (chalk, gravel, sand, silt or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted
Assessed charges   Customers can elect to pay water charges in an assessed charge if, in our opinion, it is unreasonable or impractical to install a meter
Backflow   The flow of a fluid (through a pipe etc) in a direction opposite to that which is normal or intended  
Boiling point The temperature at which a liquid becomes a gas. The boiling point of water is 100 o C at which point it becomes steam  
Borehole A hole bored into the ground to collect water which can then be pumped to the surface  
Bogus callers People who claim to be employed by companies like Cambridge Water or 'the water board', but who are only interested in stealing from your property  
Business Plan Every five years, all the water and sewerage companies in the UK submit a business plan to Ofwat which sets out how much each company will need to charge for water in order to meet their customers’ needs and the needs of the environment while continuing to deliver a safe and reliable service.  
Chalk A soft, white, porous sedimentary rock. Around 95 per cent of Cambridge Water’s water supply comes from chalk  
chlorine A highly efficient disinfectant that is added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing bacteria that the water or its transport pipes might contain  
CKI

CKI stands for Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd , a company which formally owned Cambridge Water PLC 

Code for Sustainable Homes, The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against categories of sustainable design, rating the ‘whole home’ as a complete package.  The Code uses a 1 to 6 star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home.  The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use at each level and, within England, replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE)  
Common Billing Agreement A deed of agreement signed by both Cambridge Water and the management company of a premises where there is one common supply pipe with a common meter serving multiple premises. The management company agree to pay the water charges for the whole property (i.e. if the property consists of flats then the management company agrees to divide the charge between the tenants and collect in with the rent)  
Communication pipe The pipe that runs between the watermain and the boundary of the street in which the main is situated. This pipe is the property of Cambridge Water  
Community Life Fund Cambridge Water’s fund which distributes money to local community groups and good causes  
Condensation The process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water. Condensation is crucial to the water cycle because it is responsible for the formation of clouds  
Conduit A passage (a pipe or tunnel) through which water can pass  
Consumer Council for Water (CC Water) CCWater is an independent and statutory consumer body representing the consumer’s interest in matters relating to the provision of water and sewerage services  
Contractor An organisation or individual that contracts with another organisation or individual (the owner) for the construction of a building, road or other facility  
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) CSR is where companies take into consideration the interests of customers, employees stakeholders and communities, as well as the environment, in all aspects of their work  
Cryptosporidium A microscopic parasite, common in farm animals, which can cause sickness and diarrhoea, especially in young or elderly people  
Cubic metre (M3) 1,000 litres  
Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) The UK Government department tasked with issues such as the environment, rural development, the countryside, wildlife, animal welfare and sustainable development  
Deployable output Deployable output is the amount of water that can be pumped from the company’s sources, constrained by licence, geophysical features, or plant limitations  
DG Indicators Each year water and sewerage companies provide Ofwat with information on their performance for various aspects of their service – DG indicators. Ofwat reviews their performance and reports this in its ‘Levels of service for the water industry in England and Wales’ report  
Direct Debit An instruction that an account holder gives to his or her bank which allows organisations like Cambridge Water to take a monthly bill payment  
Disinfection Describes the elimination or destruction of micro-organisms, but not usually bacterial spores. Generally applied to the process of making inanimate objects free from infection and safe to handle  
Dissolve The way in which a solid is made into a liquid  
District Metering Areas (DMAs) Cambridge Water has DMAs installed at various points throughout its network. These help us to accurately record water flow and assist with the rapid detection of leaks  
Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) Regulates public water supplies in England and Wales. It is responsible for assessing the quality of drinking water in England and Wales, taking enforcement action if standards are not being met, and appropriate action when water is unfit for human consumption  
Environment Agency Seeks to maintain and improve the quality of 'raw' water in England and Wales, and is responsible for issuing water companies with abstraction licenses  
Evaporation This is the reverse of condensation. As water is heated it evaporates into a gas or vapor. Evaporation is the primary pathway that water moves from the liquid state back into the water cycle as atmospheric water vapor  
Filtration The process of removing suspended particles from water by passing it through one or more permeable membranes or media of limited diameter (eg, sand, gravel)  
Greensand Greensand is an olive-green coloured sandstone rock which is commonly found in narrow bands. Approximately five percent of Cambridge Water’s water supply is sourced from water stored in greensand  
Grey water A term used to describe water that has been used in the home and runs into the drain from sinks, baths, showers, dishwashers and washing machines. In some cases it is possible to recycle this waster for re-use in the home  
Groundwater Water that exists beneath the earth's surface in underground streams and aquifers  
Guaranteed Standards of Service (GSS) Cambridge Water has set certain minimum standards that we expect to attain for our customers. If we fail to reach these standards, you may be entitled to a payment  
Hardness This is caused by the water picking up particles of calcium carbonate while it is being filtered through the chalk. When it is heated the calcium carbonate goes out of suspension and furs up kettles and heating pipes  
Hippo or Hog A bag or brick which you place inside your toilet cistern to restrict the amount of water when it refills after flushing, and helps reduce water consumption  
HomeServe Cambridge Water customers receive information about HomeServe insurance policies, which provide emergency plumbing and drainage cover  
Hydrants Hydrants have been provided along various points on our mains network for the primary purpose of allowing water to be drawn off by the emergency services to fight fires and save lives. Businesses can apply to Cambridge Water for a licence to extract water at hydrants using a standpipe  
K factor Ofwat limits the annual price increase, or K factor, for each water company to reflect what it needs to charge to finance the provision of services to customers. The K factor tells Cambridge Water the percentage by which, in real terms, we may increase – or must decrease prices - in each of the five years. Ofwat checks that the increases do not on average exceed inflation plus the K factor (K can be negative)  
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) How an organisation, like Cambridge Water, defines and measures progress toward its goals  
Nitrate Plant nutrient and fertilizer that enters water supply sources from fertilizers, animal feed lots, manures, sewage, septic systems, industrial wastewaters, sanitary landfills, and garbage dumps
MAC Maximum Admissible Concentration permitted in water supplies
Measured Properties that are on a water meter  
Meters All properties built after 1 April 1990 have to be fitted with a water meter, which measures the amount of water used in the property. People who own properties built before this date can opt to have a meter fitted  
Ml/d This is shorthand for a megalitre per day. A megalitre is the equivalent to one million litres  
Multiple Occupation Properties in multiple occupation include those where: -       tenants sign separate leases for shared accommodation with different start and end dates -       tenants do not have exclusive occupation of the premises; and have shared water facilities with other occupiers Where a property is in multiple occupation, the landlord remains liable for water charges  
Mutual Agreement Where another person has mutually agreed with Cambridge Water to accept responsibility for water charges  
National Environment Programme As part of the National Environment Programme, which is carried out in conjunction with Natural England and the Environment Agency, Cambridge Water carries out investigations at SSSIs to assess whether or not any our activities, such as the need to abstract water, affect the ecology of these potentially vulnerable sites  
Natural England Natural England is an independent public body whose purpose is to protect and improve England’s natural environment and encourage people to enjoy and get involved in their surroundings  
Ofwat The Office of Water Services. A Government body which is responsible for regulating the water industry  
Outage Period of time that a service, system, method or business function is expected to be unusable or inaccessible which has a high impact on the organisation, compromising the achievement of the organisation's business objectives. An outage is different to 'downtime' where method or system failures happen as a part of normal operations, and where the impact merely reduces the short-term effectiveness of processes  
PCV Prescribed Concentration Value permitable in water supplies
Potable water Potable describes water that is fit to drink  
Pressure Water pressure is created by water forcing its way through the distribution system to your tap. Gravity is the most efficient way to bring water to your home  
PR09 One of Ofwat’s main tasks is to set prices for customers’ water and sewerage bills every five years. PR09 is shorthand for Price Review (2009) and refers to the period when Ofwat will set prices for the five years from 2010 to 2015  
Pumping station Facilities including pumps and equipment for pumping fluids from one place to another  
Rateable value All properties built before 1 April 1990 were given a rateable value by the Inland Revenue, based on their size and value. Rateable values are used by water companies as a measure to charge for water. This means every unmetered property with the same rateable value receives the same water bill, regardless of how many people who live there  
Raw Water Water that has not been treated (purified)  
Reservoir A place, usually a lake or large container, where water is stored for future use  
Retail Price Index (RPI)   The measure of inflation used for calculating water bills
Service pipe The pipe that runs between the water main and your property. It comprises the communication pipe and the supply pipe  
Spring A natural flow of groundwater  
SSSI Site of Special Scientific Interest  
Stakeholders Any person or group with a vested interest in the outcome of a project or plan  
Strategic Direction Statement A statement written by Cambridge Water which identifies the challenges it will face in the future and how it plans to tackle them  
Sterilisation This is an absolute term meaning complete destruction or removal of all viable micro-organisms  
Supply-demand balance  This is the amount of water available for use, compared with the quantity actually used  
Supply pipe The pipe that runs from the boundary of the street in which the main is situated to your property. Homeowners are the legal owner of the supply pipe  
Surface Water Drainage Water and sewerage companies have to remove and process the rain water which falls on properties and then flows directly or indirectly into the public drainage systems. This is known as surface water drainage (SWD).  
Standpipe See Hydrants  
Turbidity The cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles (suspended solids) that are generally invisible to the naked eye
Unmeasured Properties that are not on a water meter  
Water Act 2003 The Water Act 2003 is in three Parts, relating to water resources, regulation of the water industry and other provisions  
 WaterAid Cambridge Water’s nominated charity. WaterAid’s aim is to overcome poverty by enabling the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education  
Water efficiency The act of being efficient with the use of water  
Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme (WIAPS) Cambridge Water, along with the majority of water companies, subscribes to the Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme (WIAPS) whose members have demonstrated their experience of plumbing work and knowledge of water regulations  
Water Only Company (WOC) Cambridge Water is a water only company, ie it only supplies fresh water. Anglian Water is known as a Water and Sewerage Company (WASC)  
Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) The Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) is the UK water industry's approval scheme. Products approved by the scheme have been shown to comply with the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and amendments  
Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) The amount of water Cambridge Water has available to use can be influenced by a range factors. Some of these are external, like whether or not we have a drought and how many new homes will be built. Some are influenced by the decisions we make as a company, like whether we increase our metering programme. The Water Resources Management Plan sets out these factors and assesses their likelihood, and what impact they may have on our water supply over the next 25 years. It then uses this assessment to calculate the surplus amount of water, known as the headroom. An additional buffer (target headroom) is also included to cater for uncertainties  
Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 National requirements for the design, installation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances. Their purpose is to safeguard drinking water by preventing contamination and prevent inefficient use of water, waste, undue consumption or erroneous measurement of it  
WaterSure A government  scheme to help vulnerable people on low incomes manage their charges for water and sewerage services  
Water tower A large elevated water storage container  
Water UK The industry association which represents UK water and wastewater services suppliers at national and European level