|Services||Water supply and sewage treatment services|
|Parent||Kemble Water Ltd|
Thames Water Utilities Ltd, known as Thames Water, is the private utility company responsible for the public water supply and waste water treatment in large parts of Greater London, the Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Kent, and some other areas of in the United Kingdom. Thames Water is the UK's largest water and wastewater services company, and supplies 2.6 gigalitres of drinking water a day, and treats 4 gigalitres of wastewater a day.
Thames Water is responsible for a range of water management infrastructure projects including: the Thames Water Ring Main around London; Europe's largest wastewater treatment works and the UK's first large-scale desalination plant. Infrastructure proposals by the company include the proposed £4.2 billion London Tideway Tunnels, and the proposed reservoir at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, which would be the largest enclosed or bunded reservoir in the UK.
Thames Water is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991 and is owned by Kemble Water Limited, a consortium formed in 2007 by Australian-based Macquarie Group's European Infrastructure Funds specifically for the purpose of purchasing Thames Water.
Thames Water can trace its history back to numerous earlier companies and individuals stretching back to the early 17th century:
1600s, 1610s Edmund Colthurst, Hugh Myddelton and later Sir John Backhouse were the driving forces behind the New River Company and the New River, which provided an additional source of drinking water to London. 1850s Joseph Bazalgette's remediation of The Great Stink provided the company with much of London's present Victorian sewerage infrastructure and several listed buildings within its portfolio of sites. Also in the 1850s, Dr John Snow's identification of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak provided a stimulus to the better treatment of sewage. 1973 The Thames Water Authority was founded, under the terms of the Water Act 1973, and took over the following water supply utilities and catchment area management bodies:
- Cotswold Water Board
- Croydon Corporation
- Epsom and Ewell Corporation
- The Lee Conservancy
- Metropolitan Water Board, responsible for water supply in London.
- Mid Southern Water Company
- Middle Thames Water Board
- Oxfordshire and District Water Board
- South West Suburban Water Company
- Swindon Corporation
- Thames Conservancy, responsible for managing the non-tidal River Thames (powers taken until 1989).
- Thames Valley Water Board
- Watford Corporation
- West Surrey Water Board
1989 Thames Water was privatised as Thames Water Utilities Limited, entailing the transfer of navigation, regulatory, river and channels management to the National Rivers Authority that later became part of the Environment Agency. The company became listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. 2001 Thames Water plc was acquired by the German utility company RWE. As well as its British operations, it became an international water treatment consultancy and acquired some overseas operations. 2006 On 17 October 2006, following several years of criticism about failed leakage targets in the UK, RWE announced that it would sell Thames Water to Kemble Water Limited for £4.8 billion (since Thames Water had net debts of £3.2 billion, this implied an enterprise value of £8.0 billion). In December 2006, the sale of the British operation from RWE to Kemble went ahead, with RWE keeping the overseas operations. Kemble is a consortium led by an investment fund run by the Australian Macquarie Bank. Australian investment funds already have interests in South East Water and Mid Kent Water. 2007 Under the new ownership, the company re-focused its efforts on improving its operational performance and announced the largest-ever capital investment (£1 billion) of any UK water company. 2012 Some of the company's stock was acquired by the China Investment Corporation, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority  and the BT Pension Scheme 
Thames Water was a Tier Three Sponsor for the London 2012 Olympic Games 
Every day, Thames Water supplies 2.6 gigalitres (2.6×109 litres) of potable tap water from 100 water treatment works via 288 clean water pumping stations through 32,000 km (20,000 mi) of managed water mains to 8.7 million customers across London and the Thames Valley. It maintains 30 raw water reservoirs and 235 underground service reservoirs.
It likewise removes and treats 4 gigalitres (4.0×109 litres) of wastewater from 13.8 million customers using 2530 sewage pumping stations through 107,100 km (66,500 mi) of managed sewerage mains to 350 sewage treatment works across an area of South England. It recovers approximately 20 MW of renewable electricity (or, say, 187 GWh per annum) from the sewage.
Leakage up to 2006 
Up to 2006, Thames Water was repeatedly criticised for the amount of water that leaked from its pipes by the industry regulator Ofwat and was fined for this. In May 2006 the leakage was nearly 900 Ml/day and in June that year Thames Water missed its target for leakage reduction for the third year in a row. Also in June 2006 the firm announced a 31% rise in pre-tax profits to £346.5m. Jeremy Pelczer, Thames Water's former chief executive, noted that:
In the face of a challenging year for Thames Water and the whole sector, we are pleased to deliver a good set of results.—
The Consumer Council for Water, a customers' group, accused Thames Water for continuing to miss their targets for the past five years. According to Consumer Council spokesman Andrew Marsh,:
They [Thames Water] are making big profits and there's a credibility gap between making large profits and asking customers to save water. People are paying more for their water bills and have every right to expect what they are paying for, which is a service that includes all the benefits the company has promised to deliver.—
Leakage since 2007 
Since 2007, under its new ownership, Thames Water has hit its Ofwat-agreed annual leakage-reduction target for the past six years running (2006 to 2012).
In 2006-07, the company stated that it had reduced its daily loss through leaks by 120 Ml/day to an average of 695 Ml/day. For 2009-10 Ofwat reported leakage was 668.9 Ml/day. In its price control determination for the period 2010 to 2015, Ofwat did not allow the funds needed to finance a significant further reduction in leakage and used the assumption that leakage would be 674 Ml/day in 2010-11 and 673 Ml/day from 2011-12. The target for 2011-12 was surpassed by more than 30 megalitres per day (Ml/day)
The company has achieved these reductions by replacing 2,200 km (1,400 mi) of worn-out Victorian pipes, mainly under London, reducing leakage from its 32,000 km (20,000 mi) network of water pipes to its lowest-ever level, down more than a third since its peak in 2004. As of 2012 and with an older network profile, Thames Water leaks 26% of supply, slightly less than Severn Trent at 27%.
Despite this, Thames Water leaks almost as much water now as at privatisation in 1998. Thames Water leaks twice as much drinking water as that reported from equally old infrastructure in Paris (Paris reportedly leaks 5% of its supply of 0.55 Ml/day across just 1,800 km (1,100 mi) of managed water mains )
Between 2001 and 2004, 240,000,000 m3 (2.4×1011 l), or 240 million tonnes, of raw sewage mixed with rainwater were emptied into the Thames.
Between 24 and 29 June 2005, 1,000,000 m3 (1.0×109 l), or 1 million tonnes, of sewage / rainwater mix was released into the Thames by Thames Water.
In September 2007, 5 km (3.1 mi) of the River Wandle was polluted. In January 2009, Thames Water pleaded guilty and was "fined £125,000 and ordered to pay £21,335 in clean-up and investigation costs". In February 2010, on appeal, the fine was found to be "manifestly excessive" and was reduced to £50,000.
On 29 October 2011, Thames Water released thousands of tonnes of raw sewage into the River Crane killing thousands of fish. Thames Anglers Conservancy member, Robin Vernon, of Devon Avenue said: “It will take a decade to repair all the damage done by the sewage spill. Everything in there is just dead now.”. In 2013, fungus and slime in the River Crane was attributed to run-off of de-icer from Heathrow getting into the river 
Each year on average, 39,000,000 m3 (3.9×1010 l), or 39 million tonnes, of untreated sewage mixed with rainwater is emptied into the Thames Tideway by London's outdated Victorian sewerage system  Sewage treatment works upgrades and the Lee tunnel, due for completion in 2014, should result in an annual reduction of discharges by 16 million tonnes  to about 23 million tonnes per year.
Local planning 
In 2011, the company found itself involved in a controversial redevelopment plan for the Bath Road Reservoir in its home town of Reading. An appeal against Reading Borough Council's rejection of the plan was dismissed by the planning inspector in January 2011. Full planning permission has since been granted on 10 December 2012.
- "Bye-bye big stink" (PDF). Beckton in Focus, The Newham Mag, London Borough of Newham. April 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Thames Water Desalination Plant, Beckton". Water-technology.net. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Thames Tideway Tunnel". London Councils website. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Need for reservoir 'not proven'". BBC News. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- The Thames Water Authority Constitution Order 1973
- Larry Elliott and Jill Treanor (22 November 2000). "A whole world sold on sell-offs". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Germany's RWE in frame for Thames Water owner Takeover bid for power giant sparks surge in share price". The Herald, Scotland. 19 February 2002. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Edmund Conway and Ben Harrington (17 October 2006). "Macquarie buys Thames Water in £8bn deal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Thames Water in £1bn leaks plan". BBC News. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "China wealth fund buys nearly 9% of Thames Water". BBC News. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Macquarie sells 9.9% stake in Thames Water to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority". Waterbriefing.org. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "BT Pension Scheme seals deal for 13pc stake in Thames Water". The Telegraph. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Duncan Mackay (31 May 2011). "London 2012 sign up Thames Water as sponsor". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "GIS Foundation at Thames Water". Barnsnape Consulting. 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Thames Water misses leak target". BBC News. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Thames Water escapes leakage fine". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Thames Water hails leak progress". BBC News. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "Service and delivery – performance of the water companies in England and Wales 2009-10 - Supporting information" (PDF). Ofwat. 27 October 2010. p. 46. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "Future water and sewerage charges 2010-15: Final determinations" (PDF). Ofwat. 26 November 2010. pp. 50–52. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "Thames Water leakage - explanatory graphs" (PDF). Ofwat. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Fred Pearce (8 May 2012). "The water industry is burying a leaking pipes scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Anne Le Strat. "The remunicipalisation of Paris' water supply service" (PDF). University of Newcastle. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Paul Brown (20 December 2004). "Sewage dumped in Thames every month". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- "Thames Water fined for supplying dirty water". Swindon Advertiser. 24 November 2006.
- "Tunnel 'needed' for Thames sewage". BBC News. 20 July 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Britain’s largest water company prosecuted for 5km river pollution, Environment Agency, February 2009; retrieved on 5 February 2009.
- "Thames Water fine for toxic spill in River Wandle cut". BBC News. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Thousands of River Thames fish killed by storm sewage". BBC News. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Thames Water ordered to pay £14K+ for stream pollution". waterbriefing.org. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Rachel Bishop (1 November 2011). "River Crane 'destroyed' by sewage spill". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Heathrow blamed for slime pollution in river". Hounslow Chronicle. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Thames Water forced to pay out £60,000 over sewage spill". Reading Post. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Thames Tunnel Consultation". Thames Tunnel partnership. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- Luke Cross (13 November 2012). "Open Doors: Lee Tunnel lifts lid on 'exciting' world of construction". Construction News. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Bath Road reservoir homes appeal rejected after inquiry". BBC News. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Consultation on Construction of Homes at Bath Road Reservoir Site". Reading Borough Council. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.