Our strategies and plans

What does it mean to be net zero?

Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out.

Think about it like a bath – turn on the taps and you add more water, pull out the plug and water flows out. The amount of water in the bath depends on both the input from the taps and the output via the plughole. To keep the amount of water in the bath at the same level, you need to make sure that the input and output are balanced.

Reaching net zero applies the same principle, requiring us to balance the amount of greenhouse gases we emit with the amount we remove. When what we add is no more than what we take away, we reach net zero.

The National Grid

The challenge

Water companies are not like other businesses. We provide a vital public service hinged on major infrastructure and yet we’re also a large landowner and custodian of the natural environment. Moving and treating water is an energy-intensive process leading to millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

In November 2020, water companies unveiled a ground-breaking plan to deliver a net-zero water supply for customers by 2030 in the world’s first sector-wide commitment of its kind.

We are already on the road to Net Zero, there is a long way to go, but we are fully committed.

What have we achieved so far?
Infographic with details of the actions we have taken. It states: We converted diesel generators at the Hampton Loade treatment works to biofuels. We are changing from diesel to electric vans, with 45 arriving in 2022/23. We are installing electric vehicle charging points across our properties. We are investigating the best options for renewable energy across all our sites. We are investing in more energy-efficient water pumps. We are on track to reduce leakage by 15%.

The next steps
Infographic showing our plans for the future. It states: We are increasing our efficiency so that we do more with less energy. We will continue to reduce our leakage. We are starting to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We will install renewable energy sources, such as solar panels. We will continue to replace our diesel vans with electric vans. We will move to biofuels in our remaining standby generators across both our regions. We are continuing to provide customers with the means to reduce water consumption (e.g. water meters). We are increasing and improving engagement with customers to help them save water, save energy (and money)

Net Zero 2030 Routemap

Find out about Water UK's 'Net Zero 2030 Routemap' - the pursuit of low carbon outcomes, combined with the recovery of the natural environment.