How we collect water from the environment

Where our water comes from

We gather our water from a range of different sources, the main one being reservoirs. These are mostly in the Pennines and the Lake District. We also extract water from Lake Vyrnwy in Wales for customers in Merseyside and Cheshire, whilst the rest is from the River Dee, from boreholes and streams.

Of the 1,900 million litres supplied everyday, well over half is from Cumbria and Wales.

Our reservoirs

The two biggest reservoirs are Cumbria’s Thirlmere and Haweswater, and the latter holds more than 8,450 million litres of water - equivalent to around 33,800 Olympic swimming pools.Haweswater reservoir
Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria

We own and manage over 56,000 hectares of land (the equivalent of 70,000 football pitches). Much of this is catchment land – the areas immediately surrounding our reservoirs.

We recognise that quality control starts right at the start of the water production process. So we keep our catchment land as clean and sustainable as we can. This not only helps water quality for our customers, but it also makes a huge difference to improving the environment

Find out what’s been achieved in recent years through our Sustainable Catchment Management programme, or SCamP as it’s known.

Getting the water to our treatment works

Over 1,400 kilometres of aqueducts help to transport raw water to around 100 water treatment works throughout the North West. The longest is the Thirlmere Aqueduct (160 kilometres), designed by the Victorians to take water from the Lake District to Manchester, and recently improved thanks to a multi-million pound refurbishment scheme.

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