Thames is by far the largest of the UK water and sewerage companies.
Serving 12M customers in the Thames valley and the capital it also has the highest profile with both government and media. The regulated Thames Water Utilities company is a billion pound turnover business which made an investment of £463M in capital assets over the last year. Very high standards of treatment for wastewater released to the heavily used River Thames enables the company to claim responsibility for the cleanest metropolitan estuary in the world.
Thames supplies water to 17% of the UK population, deals with the wastewater generated by 24% and charges households less than any other company. Nearly 70% of the supply comes from surface water and Thames reckons to collect 55% of the available rainfall of the catchment and put it into supply. Rainfall averaging only 708mm per year is quoted by Thames as 'less than Rome'.
Particularly notable recent infrastructure projects are the advanced water treatment works programme and the commissioning of two very large sewage sludge incinerators at Beckton and Crossness last December. Delivery of water to the capital has been transformed by construction of the tunnelled London Ring Main, largely built during the early 1990s. The project was initiated before privatisation and, due to a major failure during construction, has been responsible for a total change for the better in the general approach to capital project delivery.
Overseas consultancy had been a tradition with the former Metropolitan Water Board and its successor Thames Water Authority. Since privatisation these activities have been massively stepped up, along with financial participation by Thames Water plc in joint ventures such as Build Own Operate and Transfer schemes ranging in location from Turkey to China. Thames has 8.8M customers overseas. Along with the international operations, its property, products and service companies last year generated £53M pre-tax profit on a turnover of just over £300M.