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Thames Water, known originally as the Thames Water Authority and after privatisation as Thames Water Utilities Limited, is the utility responsible for water supply and waste water treatment in parts of Greater Londonmarker, Surreymarker, Gloucestershiremarker, Wiltshiremarker, and the Thames Valleymarker in the United Kingdommarker. Originally it was also responsible for managing the rivers and water catchments of the area, and was the navigation authority of the non-tidal River Thames, but these responsibilities ceased with privatisation. The Company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but is now owned by Kemble Water Limited.

About Thames Water

Thames Water is the UK's largest water and wastewater services company. Every day, it supplies 2,600 million litres of tap water to 8.5 million customers across London and the Thames Valley. It also removes and treats 2,800 million litres of sewage for an area covering 13.6 million customers.

The Thames Water Authority was founded in 1973, under the terms of the Water Act 1973. Thames Water was then privatised in 1989, with transfer of its regulatory, river management and navigation responsibilities to the National Rivers Authority, which later became part of the Environment Agency. In 2001, Thames Water plc was acquired by the Germanmarker utility company RWE.

On 17 October 2006, RWE announced that it would sell Thames Water to Kemble Water Limited for £ 4.8 billion (since Thames Water has a pro forma net debt of £3.2 billion this implies an enterprise value of £8.0 billion). Kemble is a consortium led by an investment fund run by the Australian Macquarie Bank. Australian investment funds already have interests in South East Water and Mid Kent Water. The sale went ahead in December 2006.

Since its December 2006 sale, the company has refocused its efforts on improving its operational performance and this year has announced the largest ever capital investment (£1 billion) of any UK water company.

Utilities acquired

The authority took over the following water supply utilities and catchment area management bodies:


Thames Water van.
Thames Water is responsible for some of the largest civil engineering programmes in Europe, including:



Thames Water has been repeatedly criticised for the amount of water that leaks from its pipes by the industry regulator Ofwatmarker and fined for this.

In May 2006 the figure was nearly 900 megalitres per day.

In June 2006, Thames Water missed its target for reducing leakages for the third year in a row. Also in June 2006 the firm announced a 31% rise in pre-tax profits to £346.5m. Jeremy Pelczer, Thames Water's former chief executive, noted that:
"In the face of a challenging year for Thames Water and the whole sector, we are pleased to deliver a good set of results."

The Consumer Council, a customers' group, accused Thames Water for continuing to miss their targets for the past five years. According to Consumer Council spokesman Andrew Marsh,:
"They [Thames Water] are making big profits and there's a credibility gap between making large profits and asking customers to save water. People are paying more for their water bills and have every right to expect what they are paying for, which is a service that includes all the benefits the company has promised to deliver."

In July 2006, instead of a fine, which would have gone "to the exchequer" the company was required to spend an extra £150 million on repairs.

However, following the 2006 announcement of increased capital investment:

In June 2007, Thames Water announced it had met and exceeded the 2006/07 leakage target set by the water regulator OFWAT, the first annual target that it had met since 2000.

In June 2008, Thames Water announced that, subject to audit, it had met and exceeded the 2007/08 leakage target.


In January 2009, Thames Water was "fined £125,000 and ordered to pay £21,335 in clean up and investigation costs" after having pleaded guilty for a pollution ofthe River Wandlemarker in September 2007.


  1. A whole world sold on sell-offs Guardian, 22 November 2000
  2. Thames to agree £4.3bn RWE takeover Independent, 25 September 2000
  3. Macquarie buys Thames Water in £8bn deal Telegraph, 17 October 2006
  4. Thames Water in £1bn leaks plan BBC News, 29 June 2007
  5. The Thames Water Authority Constitution Order 1973
  6. Thames Water misses leak target BBC News, 22 June 2006
  7. Thames Water escapes leakage fine BBC News, 4 July 2006
  8. Thames Water: Leakage
  9. Britain’s largest water company prosecuted for 5km river pollution, Environment Agency, February 2009; retrieved on 5 February 2009.

External links

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