Four new ways water companies are investing in the environment

With worrying news about the environment emerging almost daily, people are assessing how they can lead greener lives.

Water companies are on the frontline when it comes to improving our environment. And over the three decades since being privatised, the industry has established an impressive track record.

As a research agency, Qa has worked with a wide range of water companies. We know from our research that issues such as river water quality and bathing water quality are important to customers – even though they pay towards these green initiatives through their annual bills.

In an article reflecting on the last 30 years, chief executive of Water UK Michael Roberts recalled how the River Mersey was one of the most polluted stretches of water in Europe 25 years ago.

Now it has come back to life and salmon and even otters can be seen living in its water and on its banks.

Similar stories can be told from other areas of the country. But as concerns over climate change grow, what are water companies doing now to invest in the environment?

Here are four examples.

Ten years to carbon zero

The water industry is the first industrial sector in the UK, and one of the first major sectors in the world, to commit to a carbon zero future by 2030. As an energy-intensive sector, the water sector directly contributes around five million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. As well as the immediate impact of carbon reductions, the industry intends to share its learnings to help other major energy-using industries to deliver their own plans.

First carbon literacy training

Yorkshire Water is demonstrating a pioneering approach to tackling climate change. It has become the first company in the industry to run an accredited Carbon Literacy course. The course promotes an awareness of climate change, highlights the climate impacts of our everyday activities and encourages people to take action in their personal life and at work.

Global innovation platform

Already established as an industrial innovator, Northumbrian Water has now gone further by launching a global innovation platform. The company will post a series of challenges and open them up to solutions from around the world. For its first challenge, Northumbrian Water wants ideas on how can eliminate the use of plastic bottles when providing emergency water supplies to customers during an interruption.

Boosting river biodiversity

The European eel is now classed as critically endangered after a 95 per cent decline in population over the last 25 years. Now Anglian Water has completed a £3.6 million project to install anew eel screen at its site in Peterborough, part of a significant programme of works designed to help the species to thrive.

See also:

Photograph: cmglee via Wikimedia

What we do

Qa Research undertakes a wide range of customer insight and research studies for water companies.

Core topic areas have focused on Attitudes to River Water Quality, Improving Bathing Water Quality, Evaluating Behaviour Change Campaigns (water saving initiatives and sewer blockage prevention), Testing New Billing Concepts and Designs, Evaluating Behaviours During Water Supply Interruption, Online Tool Development for Willingness to Pay Surveying and much more.

Find out more about the work we’ve done within the water sector by contacting Richard Bryan on