19. Affinity Water plans
Themes: Community engagement and participation; Improving water quality and water quantity
- Promote action to reduce households' water consumption and pollution
- Reduce pollution through physical improvements around the river
- Work together to investigate and implement solutions to manage and minimise sources of pollution
- Educate the general public and local businesses about its role in water quality and quantity improvements
Affinity Water is working with residents across the Luton Lea catchment area.
Affinity Water is committed to being the UK’s leading community-focused water company. It supplies 3.6 million customers with over 900 million litres of water each day. The area in which it operates is one of the fastest growing, most economically active regions of the UK. It is an area which the government has designated as being under severe water stress and is set to see a rise in population of around 600,000 people and 280,000 new homes over the next 25 years.
Affinity Water's Business Plan for 2015 – 2020 was awarded enhanced status by Ofwat in recognition of its ambition, customer focus and high quality. While building this stretching plan, Affinity Water spent 18 months communicating with, and listening to, its customers through various methods including face to face workshops, online panels and paper surveys. The Business Plan responds to the significant social and environmental challenges we all face – a rising population and increased demand for water, as well as a reduction in the availability of water in the years ahead.
Over the next 5 years Affinity Water will:
support those least able to pay their bill through their social tariff, LIFT
- undertake its Water Saving Programme which will:
- install 280,000 household meters and give customers the choice to keep paying non-metered charges for up to two years. During the two year period, it will provide customers with information on their usage and show them what they would pay on a meter, compared with their current bill. It will support those customers who do see an increase by providing targeted information and advice on how to reduce their bills.
- reduce leakage by an industry leading 14%
- offer free Home Water Efficiency Checks for customers with meters, to help them save water, save energy and save money
- reduce the amount of water we take from the environment by 42 million litres per day by 2020.
Affinity Water will also implement further works to help protect the environment from which it takes water by investing in its network to improve its resilience and flexibility.
The Affinity Water supply area is home to a significant number of chalk streams flowing off the Chiltern Hills and North Downs. Affinity Water has agreed to help protect these rare chalk streams by reducing the amount of water that it abstracts from groundwater sources. It will continue to meet demand for water by a number of planned initiatives including its Water Saving Programme.
In addition to the reductions in abstraction, it will be undertaking river restoration and habitat enhancement works on seven chalk streams in collaboration with the Environment Agency and catchment partnerships, to improve ecology and habitat diversity.
Affinity Water will also be undertaking a detailed programme of monitoring to assess the effectiveness of both in-channel works and abstraction reductions. With this significant reduction in abstraction, it is important to protect the water available for public water supply. There will be a comprehensive catchment management programme to support the abstraction reductions. The programme will investigate pollution risks and Affinity Water will work with local communities to address issues such as diffuse pollution from agriculture affecting raw water quality.