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Water & wastewater

There are 26 water supply companies in the UK and they also maintain their own infrastructure. Some of the larger companies also look after the wastewater infrastructure.

The water supply companies in the UK operate within set geographical boundaries. However, in contrast to the operating structure for the energy market, there are no companies solely responsible for owning and maintaining the water and wastewater infrastructure. Instead, there are two types of company which for clarity we have referred to here as type A and B:- 

  1. A. ‘Water only’ companies (14) that both supply water (in geographical areas) and maintain the piping.
  2. B. Companies (12) that do all of the above and are also responsible for the sewerage and wastewater infrastructure.

Having two types of supply companies does make the water sector a bit complicated geographically. For example, most of London and the adjoining counties are covered by Thames Water which is a type B company as shown above. However, within their boundary are some small type A companies, like Sutton and North East Surrey, who supply water and maintain their part of the network, with the exception of sewerage and wastewater.

Permission to connect wastewater pipes to the local drains and sewerage network has to come from a type B company. However, type A companies will accept payment of wastewater infrastructure charges, on behalf of the sewerage network owner, when handling applications for a new water supply.

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