Skip to main content


A briefing on the record and future plans of water companies

The water sector in England and Wales moved into private ownership in 1989, with the water companies in Scotland and Northern Ireland remaining in public ownership.

  • Since privatisation, water companies in England and Wales have spent around £150 billion on improvements to the industry, and they continue to spend around £8 billion a year to keep on improving.
  • Compared to 30 years ago customers are 5 times less likely to suffer from supply interruptions, 8 times less likely to suffer from sewer flooding and 100 times less likely to have low water pressure.
  • The water industry is committed to the very highest environmental standards. Its work has seen wildlife return to rivers that had been biologically dead since the Industrial Revolution.
  • The average domestic water bill is now around £1 a day. After inflation, bills have stayed pretty much the same since 1994, and they are set to fall in real terms over the next few years.
  • Water companies are subject to rigorous scrutiny by customers, independent regulators and the Government.

Find out more about what the water industry is doing.