Scottish Water – Delivering for the People of Scotland

Delivering for the People of Scotland

Scottish Water saved its customers an extra £122 million in the last five years, keeping household charges 5 per cent lower than expected.

Two independent reports published today (Wednesday) highlight the public utility’s progress in delivering high-quality services for the people of Scotland, with levels of customer service now matching the leading companies in England and Wales.

The findings include

• A 31% improvement in standards of service
• An increase in customer satisfaction from 80% to 92%
• A 25% reduction in the amount of water leaking from pipes
• A 60% reduction in pollution incidents
• 950,000 customers benefitting from improvements to their water supply – including through the upgrading of 2,900km of water mains and improvements at 58 water treatment works

Ministers had tasked Scottish Water with delivering a package of service improvements while charge increases were kept below inflation. Average household charges are now £39 lower than in England and Wales, having fallen in real terms by over 10% since 2009. This means that, through reduced running costs and achieving efficiencies in the delivery of its investment programme, charges have been kept 5 per cent lower than expected.

Meanwhile, customers are also enjoying the highest ever quality of drinking water through their taps.

Scottish Water’s progress is highlighted in the Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s 2010-15 performance report, and in a separate report from the Output Monitoring Group, which comprises the main stakeholders in Scotland’s water industry, including the Scottish Government, regulators and customer representatives.

The reports are published as water industry experts gather in Glasgow for the annual Water Scotland conference to look at the future challenges for the industry.

Douglas Millican, Chief Executive of Scottish Water, said: “These reports highlight the significant improvements made to water and waste water services the length and breadth of Scotland. It is testament to the hard work of Scottish Water’s 3,600 employees, who every day are determined to fulfil our Vision of being trusted to serve Scotland.

“Increased customer satisfaction and fewer complaints and pollution incidents represent a major step forward.

“We know that our customers want to see high-quality services delivered at the lowest possible cost. That’s why I’m particularly pleased that, in the last five years, household customer charges have fallen by 10% in real terms.

“But we cannot afford to be complacent and, at today’s Water Scotland conference, I’ll be highlighting the constant drive by everyone who works for Scottish Water and with our supply chain partners to continue that progress. In the new 2015-21 regulatory period we have put plans in place, based on customer priorities, to deliver even higher drinking water quality, customer service and environmental performance, while supporting the Scottish economy.”


The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) publishes annual reports focusing on Scottish water’s targets and for the 2010-15 introduced a new measure known as the Overall Measure of Delivery (OMD).

The OMD sets out a demanding measurement of performance and progress in delivering its investment plan and Scottish Water has achieved or exceeded in OMD target in each year of the period under review.

The monitored improvements cover drinking water quality, the environment, standards of customer service, increased capacity to support economic growth and measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

All of the improvements have to be met while ensuring that customers receive value for money and that water charges increased by less than the rate of inflation.

To provide some examples: Scottish Water’s investment programme for 2010-15 comprised more than 3,300 projects involving improvements to drinking water quality, environmental improvements and customer service.

In Edinburgh and parts of Midlothian up to 450,000 customers are now receiving improved quality drinking water from the new Glencorse Water treatment works and in Glasgow Scottish Water launched a £250 million investment scheme to upgrade the city’s waste water network.

Between 2010 and 2015 standards of service improved by 31%, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction levels from 80% to 92% in the same period.
In 2010 service as measured by overall performance assessment (OPA) totalled 306 points out of a maximum score of 418.75.
Scottish Water was set a target of achieving more than 380 points by 2015 but has outperformed its target by reaching a score of 400 for 2014/15.

Another key performance indicator is reducing leakage and in the past five years leakage has been reduced from 738 to 544 megalitres per day, reaching the economic level which the company is required to maintain.

At the end of the review period Scottish Water confirmed that it had provided additional water capacity for about 52,000 customers and waste water capacity for nearly 31,000 customers, figures which met Ministers’ requirements.

Drinking water received by customers through their taps is at its highest quality ever and during 2010-15, some 2,900 kilometres of drinking water mains were cleaned, upgraded or replaced while 58 water treatment works were improved to comply with the European Commission’s Drinking Water Directive.

Over the period, some 950,000 customers have benefited from improvements to the look, taste and quality of their drinking water.

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s 2010-15 performance report on Scottish Water can be viewed here.

The Output Monitoring Group report, Investing in Scotland’s Water Industry: Improvements Delivered in 2010-15, can be viewed here.

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