About us

We are recognised by our regulators as one of the leading water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

Who are we?

We are recognised by our regulators as one of the leading water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

We play a critical role that goes beyond providing an essential public service. We aim to help tackle the climate emergency, support the communities we serve and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.

These aims form the core of our long-term commitment to build a sustainable future with the support of our customers, communities, employees and stakeholders. 

Our regulators and watchdogs

The water industry is one of the most highly regulated sectors in the UK.

Our three main regulators are:

  • The Drinking Water Inspectorate which regulates public water supplies in England and Wales and is responsible for monitoring the quality of drinking water
  • The Environment Agency which is responsible for the regulation and management of land, air and water resources in England and Wales
  • Ofwat which is the independent economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry with responsibility for setting prices and ensuring we carry out and finance our business properly.

Other bodies which regulate our work are:

  • The CCW which represents customer interests across England and Wales. The CCW western region represents consumers of Wessex Water and other water and sewerage companies in the south west region
  • Defra which deals with all aspects of water policy in England, including water supply and resources, and the regulatory systems for the water environment and water industry.

Our purpose

Our main purpose is to provide our customers and communities with excellent service and value for money, while also protecting and improving the environment.

It’s also important to us that we give our employees the opportunity for personal development and a satisfying career, as well as providing our investors with a fair return on their investment.

Our history

It has been almost 50 years since Wessex Water’s journey began – here are some of the key moments in our history.

The beginning (1974)

On 1 April 1974, Wessex Water was established by the Water Act 1973. At the time, half of our sewage treatment works did not function, and we had no systems in place and little equipment. Since then, we have steadily improved our infrastructure, services and the local water environment.

Black and white image of a Wessex Water employee working in an office from the 70s

The formative years (1974-1984)

During our first decade as a water authority, we experienced severe droughts in the mid-1970s which led to hosepipe and sprinkler bans across the region. We also carried out several projects to prepare for the years that followed.
Black and white photo of an old hosepipe ban van on patrol

Privatisation (1989)

All water authorities became Public Limited Companies on 1 September 1989. Privatisation was transformational for Wessex Water and led to a dramatic increase in capital investment with a £1.3 billion programme of works scheduled for the 1990s.

Black and white photo of a woman sat at a desk in an office with a computer

The 1990s (1990 - 1997)

In the first five years following privatisation, we carried out 7,400 projects across the region – an investment of around £740 per household. Throughout the 90s, we also modernised around 1550km of water mains to help ensure a safe supply of drinking water for customers.
Woman stood in front of a new sewer piping ready to be installed into the ground

Enron’s tenure (1998 - 2001)

On 24 July 1998, Enron purchased Wessex Water from its shareholders for £1.3 billion. However, the American company ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2001. Although we were protected through tight regulation, it was time to look for new owners.

Group photo of Wessex Water employees stood outside

A new chapter (2002 - 2013)

In 2002, Malaysian company YTL bought Wessex Water for £1.2 billion. After the failure of the previous owners, we needed stability and YTL turned out to be just what the company needed. The decade that followed saw a huge amount of investment in local communities and infrastructure.
Non-Executive Director stood unveiling new sign for Wessex Water ownership under the YTL company at opening ceremony

Recent years (2013 – 2021)

Over the last 10 years, we have continued to invest and completed the construction of our £230 million water supply grid in 2018. We have also consistently invested to safeguard and improve water and sewerage services. In the coming years, we plan to continue providing the best possible service to our customers.

Wessex Water engineer outside working with a high vis on, smiling