Yorkshire Water is a water supply and treatment utility company servicing West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire, in England. The company has its origins in the Yorkshire Water Authority, one of ten regional water authorities created by the Water Act 1973, and privatised in 1989, when Yorkshire Water plc, the parent company of the Yorkshire Water business, was floated on the London Stock Exchange. The parent company diversified and changed its name to Kelda Group in 1999. The main operating subsidiaries are Yorkshire Water Services Ltd., Yorkshire Water Enterprises and Yorkshire Environmental Solutions.
In February 2008, Kelda Group was bought by a consortium of companies. In May 2012, one of the companies that formed part of the consortium RReef, was in the process of being taken over by a German asset infrastructure fund called Guggenheim.
The company vision is "Taking responsibility for the water environment for good". In 1995 Sir Gordon Jones, the £189,000 a year chairman of Yorkshire Water since 1983, was forced to quit after a year of drought and public relations disasters for the company.
It is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991
- 1 Area
- 2 Environmental record
- 3 Performance
- 4 Customer service
- 5 Drinking water quality
- 6 Carbon footprint
- 7 Constituents
- 8 Reservoirs
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The company's area includes West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire. The area is adjoined on the north by that of Northumbrian Water, on the west by United Utilities, on the south west by Severn Trent Water and on the south by Anglian Water.
Yorkshire Water has received fines for breaches of environmental law. For example:
- Yorkshire Water was fined twice in April 2007. The first offence was for allowing polluting matter to enter Clifton beck in Brighouse, contrary to section 85(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The final incident killed one third of the wildlife along over a mile of the stream. A further incidents in the same beck led to a fine of £2,400 in 2004. Yorkshire Water argued that the blockage causing the offence was caused by a third party. Eleven days later, the company was in court again to admit to breaching its discharge consent at its Neiley sewage works, Honley. The discharge consent allowed for biological oxygen demand to exceed 21mg/l more than three times a year. The Environment Agency demonstrated that the works had breached this limit five times in 2005, resulting in a fine of £16,000 plus £754 in costs.
- Yorkshire Water was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £9,051 in costs for supplying "unfit water" in May 2006 in a prosecution brought by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, under the Water Industry Act 1991. It pleaded guilty to three offences. Properties in Harlow Moor, Harrogate, had received discoloured water supplies in February 2004, which was caused by work on its supply mains stirring up sediment. About 1,200 properties were affected and 64 customers complained. The Drinking Water Inspectorate said to the ENDS Report that this was not the first time that the company had failed to check valves before working on its distribution mains. Before this incident, the DWI had prosecuted it four times.
- Yorkshire Water's largest fine, of £119,000 (reduced to £80,000 on appeal), with costs of £125,598, was received in December 2000 after pleading guilty to seventeen charges of supplying water unfit for human consumption.
- Yorkshire Water was investigated under caution in October 2008 by the Environment Agency following a leak of sewage into Whitby Harbour. The leak was caused by a pump failure and resulted in sewage leaking into the harbour for 52 hours.
From being the most hated water company during the "year of the drought" (1995), Yorkshire Water's performance has turned around so much so that the company was awarded the title "Utility Company of the year" by Utility Week magazine three years in succession while no other company has so far won it more than once.
Yorkshire Water has met or improved on every leakage target set for the company by the Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT). 2006-6 figures are given at http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/Content/pn2707
It serves 1.9 million households and 130,000 business customers.
1992 Sludge tip blocks River Colne Huddersfield
Landslip of sewage sludge engulfed a sewage works at Huddersfield in 1992. Almost 20,000 tonnes of sewage slipped from its Deighton waste tip on to the plant, and completely blocked 150 m of the River Colne. The disaster also forced the closure of a nearby ICI plant.
1995 water shortage
For many months between September 1995 and January 1996 reservoirs in the west side of the region ran dry and water had to be taken by (up to) 700 tankers from the east side of the region near Goole in a convoy of trucks with 3,500 daily deliveries along the M62 in a drastic emergency measure which cost £3 million a week. The company has now built a pipeline from the east to the west to allow balancing of water levels to take place should the need arise.
Trevor Newton's Bathing Comment
Famously during the 1995 drought Trevor Newton the then Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water said: "I haven't had a bath or a shower now for three months, but I'm not recommending, I'm not asking, I'm not advising people not to take bath or showers, I just say it's possible to do it, and when somebody said it's not possible I said well of course it is because I haven't been taking baths or showers at home."
Unfortunately for him the Daily Express discovered his secret with the headline: "Clever Trevor takes a bath at parents' home" 
2007 Hull floods
The company came under intense criticism when the Bransholme pumping station failed, worsening the flood damage of the city and flooding two thousand homes on the Kingswood and Bransholme estate. However the blocked drains were not Yorkshire Water's fault, but that of Hull City Council.
Yorkshire Water ranked 11th of 21 water companies in Ofwat’s ‘Satisfaction by company’ survey 2012/13.
Drinking water quality
In the year ending 31 March 2013, 99.93% of Yorkshire Water’s samples met the UK standards; in the previous year it was 99.95%.
In 2012/13 the company’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled 386 kilotonnes, compared to 394 kilotonnes the previous year.
The authority created in 1973 took over the following public sector water supply utilities:
- Barnsley Corporation
- Bradford Corporation
- Huddersfield Corporation
- Kingston upon Hull Corporation
- Leeds Corporation
- Rotherham Corporation
- Scarborough Corporation
- Sheffield Corporation
- Norton Urban District Council
- Rawmarsh Urban District Council
- Calderdale Water Board
- Claro Water Board
- Craven Water Board
- Doncaster and District Joint Water Board
- East Yorkshire (Wolds Area) Water Board
- Mid Calder Water Board
- Northallerton and the Dales Water Board
- Pontefract, Goole and Selby Water Board
- Rombalds Water Board
- Ryedale Joint Water Board
- Wakefield and District Water Board
- Yorkshire River Authority
In early 1999 the company took over York Waterworks Company, a small water-only company serving the city of York.
Yorkshire Water does much to promote recreational use of its reservoirs. Available activities include walking, fishing, horse riding, cycling, water sports and bird watching. Reservoirs with public access include:
Full details are given on their recreation website. Walking packs and podcasts are available for free download for some of these reservoirs.
Other reservoirs include:
- "Company History". Kelda Group. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "What we do". Yorkshire Water. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Routledge, Paul (24 December 1995). "Yorkshire Water boss quits". The Independent (London).
- ENDS Report 388, May 2007, p. 54
- ENDS Report 351, April 2004, p. 60
- ENDS Report 377, June 2006, p. 54
- ENDS Report 311, December 2000, p. 52
- "Water Resources". www.staff.ncl.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
- From BBC PANORAMA: Whose Water Is It Anyway? TRANSMISSION: BBC ONE DATE: 6:08:06 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5253610.stm
- "Service Incentive Mechanism report". Ofwat. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "Annual Report and Accounts". Yorkshire Water. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "Annual Report and Accounts". Yorkshire Water. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Yorkshire Water at YouTube
- Report into Hull floods in November 2007
- Pumping station fails in June 2007 and Yorkshire Water apologises on the BBC