Thames Water is to invest £1.6 billion (€1.8 billion) on its sewage treatment works and sewer networks over the next two years.
This investment includes significant upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and sewerage networks to reduce storm discharges and pollution incidents.
It will help Thames Water achieve its commitment to reduce the total annual duration of discharges by 50% by 2030 compared to a 2020 baseline. This commitment includes an 80% reduction in discharges in particularly sensitive catchments.
Over the next two years, starting in April, Thames Water will invest £1.12 billion (€1.26 billion) on sewage treatment plants, including £650 million (€729 million) on enhancing and upgrading over 135 existing sites to improve resilience and provide additional capacity. Over the period, Thames Water will spend a further £470 million (€527 million) on the wider sewer network.
The £1.6 billion (€1.8 billion) commitment is a record investment for a UK water utility and represents a more than twofold increase in Thames Water’s spending on its sewage treatment plants and wider sewer network, compared to the previous two years.
The company is raising its investment after building the expertise and capability to deliver complex engineering projects at pace.
Sarah Bentley, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “The discharge of untreated sewage is unacceptable, and we are committed to tackling this problem. We are investing record sums in upgrading our sewer systems and treatment works and are striving every day to reduce the discharge of untreated sewage into our rivers.
“However, there are no quick fixes. Population growth will increase the strain on our sewage network and treatment centres. And because of climate change, the south east of England is experiencing heavier downpours, which can overwhelm some sewage treatment works. The scale of the challenge demands urgent and systemic reform with a shared undertaking from all stakeholders.”
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