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Shaping the future

of your water and waste water services

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Introduction

We provide vital water and waste water services to nearly every household and business in Scotland. Our drinking water and the quality of Scotland’s water environment are at their best ever levels. Through our work, we make a vital contribution to Scotland’s health, prosperity and the sustainability of our natural environment. As such, our vision is to be trusted to care for the water on which Scotland depends.

We have set out how we propose to support our customers and communities across Scotland in the decades to come. You, as our customers, are at the heart of our business, and we invite your views on our ambitions and proposals.

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Douglas Millican

Chief Executive

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About

Scottish Water

Scottish Water is a unique publicly-owned utility. We provide vital water and waste water services, essential
to daily life, to 2.5 million households and 156,000 business premises across Scotland.

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We provide 1.35 billion litres of clean, fresh drinking water every day
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Our biggest water treatment works serves over 500,000 customers
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and the smallest serves 1primary school
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We supply water through 48,480 km of pipes
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We carry out over 311,000 drinking water quality tests on regulatory samples per year
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We are the 4th largest water and waste water service provider in the UK
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The replacement value of our asset base is around £70 billion
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We employ over 4,000 people
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We take away waste water through 51,199 km of sewers
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Of our 1,826 waste water treatment works 1,453 serve populations less than 500
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We help protect over 18,600 km of Scottish coastline
Next Section The Future

What might the future hold?

Although no-one can truly predict the future, we must develop long-term plans that can stand the test of time – especially because most of our existing assets and new investments will last for decades.

To help us understand what our customers may expect in the future, we have used a method known as "scenario planning" to develop a set of possible future scenarios for what the world may look like in the middle of this century.

This exercise found that the biggest challenges we are likely to face are climate change and our ageing infrastructure and asset base, while the greatest opportunities are in digital technology and innovation. At the same time, we will be adapting to the changes in Scotland’s population and growing number of households.

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Borders College, Galashiels campus, now uses heat from our waste water network

Borders College, Galashiels campus, now uses heat from our waste water network

Next Section Our Ambitions

Our
Ambitions

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Ambition One

A consistently leading customer experience

Although Scottish households trust their water services more than any other sector, we are still keen to do even more. Our ambition is to deliver a consistently leading customer experience.

To achieve this, we will continue to listen to our customers and prioritise the things that they tell us are important to them, putting their interests at the heart of everything we do.

We recognise that our customers are both consumers of our services and citizens affected by our activities in the communities in which they live, work and travel.

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Ambition Two

Keeping customer prices low

We currently charge most households less than £1 a day.

We face increasing pressure on our finances, mainly because we will need to increase significantly the extent of asset replacement, but also because both our customers and regulators expect us to improve our services.

However, we recognise too that many households and businesses are under financial pressure. Against this backdrop, we are setting a very stretching ambition of keeping customer prices low.

Pricing Pie Chart
Every £1 of customer charges currently contributes to these five areas
  • 29p Operational costs including our people, energy and other day to day running costs
  • 25p Replacing and refurbishing assets to maintain service level
  • 22p Meeting new standards and improving our service
  • 13p Paying for PFI services
  • 11p Paying interest on money we have borrowed
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Ambition Three

Increasing the reliability, resilience and sustainability of our services

While most of our customers receive a flawless supply of water and waste water services, rising expectations and the challenges we face require us to increase the reliability, resilience and sustainability of our services to seek to:

  • Deliver high quality, great tasting drinking water every minute of the day.
  • Provide effective and sustainable collection and treatment of waste water, reduce the rainwater entering sewers, and protect Scotland’s water environment every minute of the day.
  • Support the growth in Scotland’s economy, population and households by expanding our networks and infrastructure.
  • Become more resource efficient, low carbon and socially sustainable.

Our ambition reflects the expectations of our customers, the requirements of developers and a growing economy, and the priorities of our regulators in the context of our legal obligations.

To meet this ambition, we must invest to maintain and replace our existing assets and infrastructure, improve the resilience of our water and waste water networks, and enhance or expand some of our assets and infrastructure to fulfil our statutory obligations and support a growing economy.

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Shape the future...
of Scotland's water and waste water

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