Yorkshire Water was praised as being “at the forefront” of responding to climate change following the publication of the utility’s climate change strategy.
The strategy is among the most comprehensive and practical produced by any organisation in the UK. It openly describes the climate challenges facing the region’s water and waste water services from increasingly drier summers, more extreme storms and rising sea levels.
Critically, the strategy lays out the company’s plans to respond to the changing climate to ensure the security of the essential water and waste water services it provides to five million customers. The strategy also describes how the company will continue tackling the carbon emissions hidden in its water and waste water services. Customers can get involved by using water and sewers wisely.
Jon Clubb of the Climate Change Partnership for Yorkshire & Humber said: “I am pleased to see Yorkshire Water is among those at the forefront of responding to the serious challenges we face from extreme weather and the changing climate.
“The resilience of our critical infrastructure assets are key to the long term vitality of our communities and businesses, whatever the weather. Reducing our emissions goes hand in hand with being well adapted to a changing climate - so it’s also right that they are making Yorkshire’s water supply more sustainable by making renewable energy from our sewage waste and reducing their carbon emissions.
“I’m looking forward to continuing working with Yorkshire Water and the region’s other essential infrastructure and service providers to ensure Yorkshire is well prepared for the climate change challenge.”
Yorkshire Water has spent years proving its commitment to tackling climate change and its impacts. The company holds the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard - an independently audited accreditation which verifies continual improvement in reducing carbon. Last year it continued its trend for cutting carbon emissions, saving 8,700 tonnes on the previous year. That’s the same amount as driving an average car around the world more than 1,100 times.
Gordon Rogers, Yorkshire Water’s climate change strategy manager, said: “People can continue to debate the reasons behind it, but the evidence shows that our climate is changing and as a business we have a responsibility to respond to that.
“We provide a critical service in supplying clean drinking water to more than two million households, as well as safely taking away and treating the waste water they generate.
“We can’t shy away from the challenges of today’s extreme weather and future climate change, so we’ve set out a detailed plan to safeguard Yorkshire’s water for future generations. The great news is that doing the right thing can go hand in hand with keeping water bills as low as possible for the long-term. For example, we are generating green and low-cost energy from sewage waste.
“Our strategy recognises that everyone has a role to play in ensuring the long term sustainability of essential water supplies. Yorkshire Water recognises its leading role and is striving to save water, protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions.
“We can only make the biggest difference by working together so that is just what we’re doing. For example, we’re helping customers to use water efficiently so that there is always enough for everyone. We’re also working with farmers to ensure that pesticides don’t pollute precious water supplies.”
The strategy is available online at www.yorkshirewater.com/climatechange. It covers the risks and responses to critical climate change issues such as:
Managing land to secure the quality of raw water,
Using water in the most efficient way,
Maintaining the sewer network to avoid sewer flooding and pollution, considering new techniques like Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS),
Reducing carbon and the company’s huge energy bill by being energy efficient and investing in renewables, and
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment to ensure wildlife is best placed to thrive in the changing climate.
Yorkshire Water was recently named as one of only two water companies to reduce its leakage rates last year. The figures – based on the amount of leakage as a percentage of the water supplied – appear in this week’s Utility Week magazine and show that leakage in Yorkshire reduced by 0.41% during 2012-13 when compared to 2011-12.