Yorkshire Water Ltd.
IndustryWater industry
HeadquartersBradford, England
Area served
Key people
Production output
  • 1.3 Gl/day (drinking)
  • 1.0 Gl/day (recycled)
Revenue£1.1 billion (2020–2021)[3]
Number of employees
ParentKelda Group

Yorkshire Water is a water supply and treatment utility company servicing West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire, in England. The company has its origins in the Yorkshire Water Authority, one of ten regional water authorities created by the Water Act 1973, and privatised under the terms of the Water Act 1989, when Yorkshire Water plc, the parent company of the Yorkshire Water business, was floated on the London Stock Exchange. The parent company was Kelda Group in 1999.[4] In February 2008, Kelda Group was bought by a consortium of infrastructure funds.

It is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991.


The company's area includes West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire. The area is adjoined on the north by that of Northumbrian Water, on the west by United Utilities, on the south west by Severn Trent Water and on the south by Anglian Water.[5][6] It serves 5.5 million households and 140,000 business customers,[7][8] and owns over 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres) of land.[9]

Environmental record

Yorkshire Water has received fines for breaches of environmental law. For example:


In June 1996, Yorkshire Water was effectively fined £40 million by the regulator, Ofwat, by freezing their ability to raise bills for customers. This was a result of what Ofwat described as a "failure to deliver the standards required to consumers".[14] This fine was a result of being the most hated water company during the "year of the drought" (1995).[15] However, Yorkshire Water's performance had turned around so much so that the company was awarded the title by Utility Week magazine three years in succession while no other water company has won it more than once."[16]

The company has been criticised (2022) for losing 283 million litres of water a day due to leakages. The company says that this is a 50% reduction on the period 1995/96.[3]

1992 Sludge tip blocks River Colne, Huddersfield

A landslip of sewage sludge engulfed a sewage works at Huddersfield in 1992. Almost 20,000 tonnes (20,000 long tons; 22,000 short tons) of sewage slipped from its Deighton waste tip on to the plant, and completely blocked 490 feet (150 m) of the River Colne. The disaster also forced the closure of a nearby ICI plant.[17]

1995 Year of Drought

For months between September 1995 and January 1996 reservoirs in the west side of the region ran dry, and water had to be taken by (up to) 700 tankers (delivering 70,000 litres (15,000 imp gal; 18,000 US gal) of water a day) from the east side of the region near Goole in a convoy of trucks, with 3,500 daily deliveries along the M62 in a drastic emergency measure which cost £3 million a week, eventually totalling £33 million for the entire tankering operation.[18] The trucks were famously shown on TV delivering water into Booth Wood Reservoir.[19][20][21] The company has now built a pipeline from the east to the west to allow the balancing of water levels should the need arise. Following the "year of drought", Yorkshire Water became known as "the most hated water company" during this period, with "staff having to travel in unmarked vans for fear of reprisals".[22] Many suspected Yorkshire Water would never be able to win back customers' trust.[23]

2007 Hull floods

See also: 2007 United Kingdom floods

The company came under intense criticism when the Bransholme pumping station failed, worsening the flood damage to the city and flooding two thousand homes on the Kingswood and Bransholme estates. The pumping station was upgraded in 2016.[24][25]

2022 Sheffield gas supply outage

Main article: 2022 Sheffield gas supply outage

Yorkshire Water were criticised in December 2022 when a burst water main operated by the company caused flooding in the Stannington area of Sheffield, which subsequently entered the local gas network and left thousands of properties without a natural gas supply for more than a week amid below-freezing temperatures. The burst water main occurred during the evening of 2 December and leaked more than 400,000 litres of water into the local gas pipe network before finally being fully repaired five days later. Sheffield City Council declared a major incident and aid was distributed to residents as a result of the crisis.[26]

Customer service

Yorkshire Water ranked 11th of 21 water companies in Ofwat's 'Satisfaction by company' survey 2012/13.[27]

in January 2015 the UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) announced that Yorkshire Water was the leader for service in the Utilities sector, they were also the second most improved organisation in the whole UKCSI, beating competitors such as Severn Trent, Anglian, Thames Water as well as United Utilities and EDF.

The UKCSI is the only external measure showing the state of customer satisfaction in the UK and allows individuals to benchmark across all sectors as well as utilities.

Drinking water quality

Not taking into account human composition:[clarification needed] In the year ending 31 March 2013, 99.93% of Yorkshire Water's samples met the UK standards; in the previous year it was 99.95%.[28]

Carbon footprint

In 2012/13 the company's greenhouse gas emissions totalled 386 kilotonnes, compared to 394 kilotonnes the previous year.[28]


The authority created in 1973 took over the following public sector water supply utilities:[29]

In early 1999 the company took over York Waterworks Company, a small water-only company serving the city of York.[30]


Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club at Grimwith Reservoir

Yorkshire Water allows recreational use of some of 113 of its 120+ reservoirs.[31][32] Activities include walking, fishing, horse riding, cycling, water sports and bird watching.[33][34] Several sailing clubs are afforded the use of certain reservoirs for their sailing activities, including Boshaw Whams, Embsay, Grimwith, Ponden, Scar House, Thornton Steward, and Warley Moor Reservoirs.[35]

Since privatisation of the water authorities in 1989, Yorkshire Water has made many of its locations accessible to the public, which not only cover water, but woodland and moorland. Walks exist around Brayton Barff, Fewston, Grimwith, Langsett, More Hall, Scammoden, Thruscross, and Undebank reservoirs.[36] Additionally, in 2008, Yorkshire Water teamed up with long-distance walking writer Mark Reid to create the Yorkshire Water Way, a 103-mile (166 km) walk which takes in Yorkshire Water Reservoirs along its route.[37][38]


  1. ^ Ames, Daryl (16 June 2021). "Woman with OBE appointed new chair of Yorkshire Water at 'critical time'". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  2. ^ Ungoed-Thomas, Jon (21 August 2022). "England's highly paid water bosses rake it in from lucrative second jobs". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  3. ^ a b Wood, Alexandra (16 August 2022). "Bosses at Yorkshire Water paid more than £3m in bonuses - despite leakages running at 283.1 million litres per day". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Company History". Kelda Group. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Electronic (PDF) Maps | SafeMove Residential and Commercial Property Searches incl Yorkshire Water's Pipe and Sewer Records". www.safe-move.co.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Case Study: Yorkshire Water". www.alsglobal.com. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Yorkshire Water hosepipe ban to start on 26 August". BBC News. 12 August 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  8. ^ "BearingPoint helps Yorkshire Water enhance its maintenance operations". consultancy.uk. 11 May 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  9. ^ "Our Strategy for Recreation on Land and Water" (PDF). yorkshirewater.com. July 2016. p. 3. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  10. ^ a b ENDS Report 388, May 2007, p. 54
  11. ^ ENDS Report 351, April 2004, p. 60
  12. ^ ENDS Report 377, June 2006, p. 54
  13. ^ ENDS Report 311, December 2000, p. 52
  14. ^ Harrison, Michael (4 June 1996). "Ofwat 'fines' Yorkshire Water £40m". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Water Resources". www.staff.ncl.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  16. ^ "Utility Company of the year". utility-awards.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ "Writs fly in sewage row - Yorkshire Water". constructionnews.co.uk. 13 January 1994. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  18. ^ August, Oliver (31 May 1997). "Yorkshire Water spent £33m on tankering". The Times. No. 65904. p. 26. ISSN 0140-0460.
  19. ^ Thornham, Kelly; Rutter, Suzanne (30 July 2005). "Firm says supplies at usual level". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  20. ^ Durkin, Hannah (15 April 2006). "Water lot we got". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  21. ^ Cathcart, Brian (25 February 1996). "Fat cataclysm". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  22. ^ Wilkinson, Paul; Nuttall, Nick (19 September 1995). "Yorkshire faces drought order despite downpour". The Times. No. 65376. p. 5. ISSN 0140-0460.
  23. ^ Stothard, Peter, ed. (13 September 1995). "Drought policy attacked". The Times. No. 65371. p. 2. ISSN 0140-0460.
  24. ^ Vidal, Jon (22 November 2007). "Water company failed to take action on flood warnings, report alleges". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Flood defence pumping station opens in Hull". BBC News. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Stannington: Major incident declared as homes still without gas". BBC News. BBC. 8 December 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  27. ^ "Service Incentive Mechanism report" (PDF). Ofwat. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  28. ^ a b "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). Yorkshire Water. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  29. ^ The Yorkshire Water Authority Constitution Order 1973 No. 1289. London: HMSO. 1973. p. 3,911. ISBN 0-11-031289-9.
  30. ^ "York Waterworks deal given go-ahead". York Press. 8 March 1999. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  31. ^ "Yorkshire Water | Water Projects". waterprojectsonline.com. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  32. ^ "Our Strategy for Recreation on Land and Water" (PDF). yorkshirewater.com. July 2016. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Yorkshire Water". www.britishcanoeing.org.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  34. ^ "Our Strategy for Recreation on Land and Water" (PDF). yorkshirewater.com. July 2016. p. 5. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  35. ^ a b "Yorkshire Water - Sailing and water sports at our reservoirs". www.yorkshirewater.com. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  36. ^ Zientek, Henryk (27 December 2017). "Just 1% of Yorkshire's countryside is truly accessible to the disabled - Here's how Yorkshire Water is trying to change that at Scammonden". infoweb.newsbank.com. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  37. ^ Reid 2008, p. 3.
  38. ^ "Long Distance Walkers Association". www.ldwa.org.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  39. ^ a b c Reid 2008, p. 72.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Lomas 2016, p. 7.
  41. ^ a b c d Reid 2008, p. 95.
  42. ^ a b c Reid 2008, p. 96.
  43. ^ a b c d Reid 2008, p. 73.
  44. ^ a b Reid 2008, p. 25.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g Bowtell, Harold D. (1991). Lesser railways of the Yorkshire Dales : and the dam builders in the Age of Steam. Brighton: Plateway Press. p. 156. ISBN 1-871980-09-7.
  46. ^ a b c d e Reid 2008, p. 97.
  47. ^ a b c Reid 2008, p. 48.
  48. ^ "Tophill Low Reservoir". 6 January 2008. Archived from the original on 6 January 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  49. ^ Minting, Stuart (18 August 2022). "Yorkshire Water seeks urgent safety changes at huge reservoir". Darlington and Stockton Times. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  50. ^ Reid 2008, p. 71.


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