Yorkshire Water

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Yorkshire Water Ltd.
IndustryWater industry
HeadquartersBradford, England
Area served
Key people
Production output
  • 1.3 Gl/day (drinking)
  • 1.0 Gl/day (recycled)
  • Increase £984 million (2014)[1]
    Increase £936 million (2013)
    Steady £893 million (2012)
Number of employees
ParentKelda Group

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 under the terms of the Water Act 1989, when Yorkshire Water plc, the parent company of the Yorkshire Water business, was floated on the London Stock Exchange. The parent company was Kelda Group in 1999.[2] In February 2008, Kelda Group was bought by a consortium of infrastructure funds.

It is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991.


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. It serves 2.3 million households and 130,000 business customers.

Environmental record[edit]

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.[3] A further incident in the same beck led to a fine of £2,400 in 2004.[4] 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 21 mg/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.[3]
  • 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.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.


In June 1996, Yorkshire water was effectively fined £40 million by the regulator, Ofwat, by freezing their ability to raise bills for customers. This was a result of what Ofwat described as a "failure to deliver the standards required to consumers".[7] This fine was a result of being the most hated water company during the "year of the drought" (1995).[8] However, Yorkshire Water's performance had turned around so much so that the company was awarded the title by Utility Week magazine three years in succession while no other water company has won it more than once."[9]

1992 Sludge tip blocks River Colne Huddersfield[edit]

Landslip of sewage sludge engulfed a sewage works at Huddersfield in 1992. Almost 20,000 tonnes (20,000 long tons; 22,000 short tons) of sewage slipped from its Deighton waste tip on to the plant, and completely blocked 490 feet (150 m) of the River Colne. The disaster also forced the closure of a nearby ICI plant.[10]

1995 Year of Drought[edit]

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 (delivering 70,000 litres (15,000 imp gal; 18,000 US gal) of water a day) 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 trucks were famously shown on TV delivering water into Booth Wood Reservoir.[11][12][13] 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. Following the "year of drought" Yorkshire Water became known as "the most hated water company" during the many suspected Yorkshire Water would never be able to win back customers trust. However, though to a series of managerial changes and policy shifts, Yorkshire Water quickly turned things around, and won “Utility Company of the Year” from Utility Week Magazine for three years in a row, a record unmatched by any other water or energy company. The company have also either met or exceeded every leakage target set for the company by the Water Services Regulation Authority.

2007 Hull floods[edit]

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 estates. The pumping station was upgraded in 2015.

Customer service[edit]

Yorkshire Water ranked 11th of 21 water companies in Ofwat’s ‘Satisfaction by company’ survey 2012/13.[14]

in January 2015 the UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) announced that Yorkshire Water was the leader for service in the Utilities sector, they were also the second most improved organisation in the whole UKCSI, beating competitors such as Severn Trent, Anglian, Thames Water as well as United Utilities and EDF.

The UKCSI is the only external measure showing the state of customer satisfaction in the UK and allows individuals to benchmark across all sectors as well as utilities.

Drinking water quality[edit]

Not taking into account human composition: 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%.[15]

Carbon footprint[edit]

In 2012/13 the company’s greenhouse gas emissions totalled 386 kilotonnes, compared to 394 kilotonnes the previous year.[15]


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 allows recreational use of some of its reservoirs. Activities include walking, fishing, horse riding, cycling, water sports and bird watching. Reservoirs with public access include:

Full details are given on their leisure website. Walking packs and podcasts are available for free download for some of these reservoirs.

Other reservoirs include:


  1. ^ "Yorkshire Water makes £142m profit but pays no corporation tax". The Yorkshire Post. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Company History". Kelda Group. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b ENDS Report 388, May 2007, p. 54
  4. ^ ENDS Report 351, April 2004, p. 60
  5. ^ ENDS Report 377, June 2006, p. 54
  6. ^ ENDS Report 311, December 2000, p. 52
  7. ^ Harrison, Michael (4 June 1996). "Ofwat 'fines' Yorkshire Water £40m". The Independent. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Water Resources". www.staff.ncl.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  9. ^ "Utility Company of the year". utility-awards.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ "Writs fly in sewage row - Yorkshire Water". constructionnews.co.uk. 13 January 1994. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  11. ^ Thornham, Kelly; Rutter, Suzanne (30 July 2005). "Firm says supplies at usual level". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  12. ^ Durkin, Hannah (15 April 2006). "Water lot we got". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  13. ^ Cathcart, Brian (25 February 1996). "Fat cataclysm". The Independent. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Service Incentive Mechanism report" (PDF). Ofwat. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). Yorkshire Water. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Tophill Low Reservoir". 6 January 2008. Archived from the original on 6 January 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2007.

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]