Climate change presents a real test to us. The past few years have seen a series of extreme weather events across England and Wales. The 2005 and 2006 drought affected much of the south of England and the floods of summer 2007 and 2008 were unprecedented. These events provide supporting evidence of the very serious impacts of climate change. We aim to play our part in tackling climate change, and to reduce our carbon footprint.
By implementing new policies to reduce the demand for water, like metering on change of occupier (when people move house), we aim to tackle climate change. Reducing the amount of water we pump will save energy and so reduce our carbon footprint. Alongside the new metering programme, we are continuing to reinforce our activities in the area of water efficiency to provide our customers with the information they need to make informed decisions about using water wisely. We are also continuing to work hard to maintain leakage at an economic level.
In addition, we will continue to focus on our successful energy management programme and maintain our pumps to the highest efficiency levels in the industry.
Energy & carbon challenges
We supply drinking water to some 1.2 million consumers across an area totalling 1,500 square kilometres. Many of these consumers live within the highly urbanised Midlands plateau between Barr Beacon and Sedgley Beacon. To serve this population, we have major reservoirs situated on these hills, both of which rise over 200 metres above sea level. This gives us the highest average pumping heads of any water company in England and Wales. What this means is that in order to deliver service to our customers we have to pump water up hill more than anyone else.
In 2012/13 nearly 100 million kWh of electricity was required to convey 116,000 million litres of water to customers. This represents 91% of the total energy we consume and 55,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions were generated as a result.
We strive to reduce energy consumption primarily through effective management of the distribution network and regular maintenance of plant to preserve efficiency. With the forecast long-term rise in energy prices and legislation on carbon reduction, the challenge to achieve further improvement is immense.
- What is meant by climate change?
- Climate change refers to changes in the Earth’s climate that was first identified at the beginning of the 1900s. Within the UK, the climate is forecast to change with increasing volatility in weather patterns, escalating the chances of flooding and extended dry spells. Scientists believe one of the main causes of climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is largely due to the burning of fossil fuels in the production of energy.
- How do you manage energy use?
- We consume approximately 120 gigawatts of electricity every year in order to provide clean water to customers. This equates to the same amount of electricity used by 36,000 households.
- We recognise the importance of managing energy and undertake a number of initiatives in targeting and monitoring energy use:
- Reducing consumption – monitoring energy use per quantity of water produced to identify opportunities and inefficiencies.
- Buying energy at the lowest cost – understanding the energy markets, employing best practice in purchasing energy and negotiating tariffs that meet the business need.
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