Water abstraction

The main way to ensure our water supply operation does not impact the environment unacceptably is through abstraction licensing.

What are we doing?

Our licences state the maximum amount of water that can be taken each day and each year, and in some cases, links abstraction rates to low thresholds in local watercourses.

We operate 19 stream supports where we pump water from an underground aquifer and discharge it into a watercourse to maintain flows in the stream through the year at specific thresholds.

Doing this mitigates the impact of our abstractions for public water supply on local watercourses. For five of these, operating them to comply with our licences can also mean the amount of water we can abstract at the site for public water supplies is reduced.

There are a further 20 sources where we reduce our abstraction rate for public supply when the river flow falls below a given threshold – this helps to reduce our impact on the environment.

We continue to work with the Environment Agency and Natural England where our existing licences do not protect the environment adequately.