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Wessex Water Services Limited, known as Wessex Water, is a water supply and sewerage utility company serving an area of South West England, covering 10,000 square kilometres including Bristol, most of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire.[1] Wessex Water supplies 1.3 million people with around 285 million litres of water a day.

Wessex Water
Private company
IndustryWater industry
HeadquartersBath, Somerset
Key people
  • Colin Skellett (Executive chairman)
Production output
  • 0.270 Gl/day (drinking)
  • 0.460 Gl/day (recycled)
ServicesWater supply and sewerage services
  • Increase £ 224 million (2013)
  • £219 million (2012)
Number of employees
ParentYTL Corporation, of Malaysia

It is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991. In 2016, the company had about 2,100 employees.[2]

Wessex Water is owned by the Malaysian power company YTL Corporation.[3] Its headquarters are on the outskirts of Bath in Claverton Down, in a modern energy-efficient building by Bennetts Associates and Buro Happold.[4]


Headquarters building in Bath

The company originated as the Wessex Water Authority, one of ten regional water authorities established by the Water Act 1973 which were privatised in 1989. Wessex Water Services Limited was purchased by American company Enron in 1998 for $2.4 billion and placed in a newly formed subsidiary, Azurix. Following Enron's collapse, Wessex Water was sold to YTL Power International of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2002.

The water authority had acquired the assets and duties of a number of public sector and local authority water utilities:

  • Bristol Avon River Authority
  • Somerset River Authority
  • Avon and Dorset River Authority (except the part of the area of that drains to the River Lim)
  • Bath Corporation
  • Dorset Water Board
  • North Wilts Water Board
  • South Wilts Water Board
  • Wessex Water Board
  • West Somerset Water Board
  • West Wilts Water Board
  • Bournemouth and District Water Company
  • Bristol Waterworks Company
  • Cholderton and District Water Company
  • West Hampshire Water Company
  • West Lulworth Water Undertaking

Customer serviceEdit

Wessex Water achieved a score of 4.53 in Ofwat’s ‘Satisfaction by company’ survey 2012/13 (5 being ‘very satisfied’).[5]

Drinking water qualityEdit

In 2013 Wessex Water's compliance with drinking water standards exceeded 99.9% and the company maintained 100% compliance with sewage treatment discharge consents.[6]


In both 2011/12 and 2012/13 the company's leakage figure was 69 million litres per day, compared to a yearly average of 73 million litres per day between 2005–10.[6]

Carbon footprintEdit

Wessex Water's greenhouse gas emissions totalled 149 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2011/12 and 159 kilotonnes in 2012/13.

Reservoirs and lakesEdit

The company owns and manages several reservoirs including Blashford Lakes in Dorset, Clatworthy Reservoir, Durleigh Reservoir, Hawkridge Reservoir, Otterhead Lakes, Sutton Bingham Reservoir and Tucking Mill in Somerset, many of which, in addition to supplying drinking water, are used for recreation and as nature reserves.[7]


GENeco is part of the Wessex Water group of companies and operates sewage treatment works. It recycles waste, produces renewable energy and provides the agricultural industry with fertiliser. In summer 2010, GENeco launched the Bio-Bug, a modified VW Beetle that runs on bio-gas generated from waste treated at sewage treatment works.[8] Waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 homes in Bristol is enough to power the Bio-Bug for a year, based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles.[9]

In November 2014, the UK's first bus powered entirely by human and food waste went into service between Bristol and Bath, run by tour operator Bath Bus Company. The biomethane gas is generated at Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, which is run by GENeco.[10]

Environmental recordEdit

  • May 1998 – Found guilty of discharging over 1 million gallons of raw sewage into a Weymouth, Dorset, marina on August Bank Holiday Monday 1997, the busiest day of the year. The company was fined £5,000 with £500 costs.[11][12]
  • March 1999 – Ranked 4th in the top ten list of "worst polluters" in England by the Environment Agency.[13][14]
  • May 2002 – Fined £8,000 for causing pollution in Dowlais Brook, Cwmbran in June 2001.[15]
  • April 2003 – Fined £5,000 with £1,000 costs at Minehead Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter the Washford River in Somerset.[16]
  • July 2003 – Described by the Environment Agency as one of the worst "repeat offenders" for pollution incidents.[17]
  • 2004 – Fined six times for environmental pollution incidents.[18]
  • May 2007 – Fined £1,500 with £1,589 costs by Bristol magistrates after pleading guilty to one offence under the Water Resources Act 1991 of causing sewage to enter controlled waters. Untreated sewage had been allowed to pollute the River Frome in July 2006. The river was polluted again with untreated sewage at Frampton Cotterell in February 2007 and April 2007.[19][20]
  • April 2008 – Fined £3,000 with £1,960 costs for allowing sewage to pollute the River Stour.[21]
  • March 2010 – Fined £6,000 with £2,235 costs at Weymouth Magistrates' Court after allowing sewage to pollute the River Stour near Shaftesbury in March 2009.[21]


  1. ^ "About the company". Wessex Water. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. ^ Wessex Water website
  3. ^ "Malaysian energy group YTL buys Wessex Water for £1.2bn". The Independent. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Wessex Water Operations Centre". Buro Happold. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Service Incentive Mechanism report" (PDF). Ofwat. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Past performance". Wessex Water. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Reservoirs and lakes". Wessex Water. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  8. ^ BBC News:
  9. ^
  10. ^ "UK's first 'poo bus' goes into service between Bristol and Bath". BBC News. 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ McCarthy, Michael (29 May 1998). "Water firms pollute rivers every week". The Independent. London. p. 7. ProQuest document ID 312690147.
  12. ^ "Make the polluter pay the full price". The Independent. London. 3 September 1998. p. 3. ProQuest document ID 312727468.
  13. ^ Houlder, Vanessa (22 March 1999). "ICI Chemicals tops league table for pollution fines". Financial Times. London. p. 7. ProQuest document ID 248234166.
  14. ^ Gregoriadis, Linus (22 March 1999). "ICI tops list of Britain's filthiest companies; The Worst Polluters". The Independent. London. p. 4. ProQuest document ID 312834884.
  15. ^ "Water companies fined". Western Mail. Cardiff. 22 May 2002. p. 3. ProQuest document ID 341229258.
  16. ^ "Water company fined for pollution". BBC News. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  17. ^ Brown, Paul (31 July 2003). "Pollution still pays as firms shrug off fines: League table of offenders fails to stem neglect". The Guardian. London. p. 11. ProQuest document ID 246008755.
  18. ^ Adams, Guy (30 September 2005). "Muddied waters?". The Independent. London. p. 14. ProQuest document ID 310834496.
  19. ^ Harding, Julie (25 May 2007). "Water firm fined over sewage spill". Evening Post. Bristol. p. 59. ProQuest document ID 333779177.
  20. ^ "Water firm fined £3,000 for pollution". Western Daily Press. Bristol. 25 May 2007. p. 31. ProQuest document ID 334606821.
  21. ^ a b "Wessex Water fined for river pollution". This Is Dorset. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2013.

External linksEdit