Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Anglian Water

1. We welcome the Government’s proposals and are particularly pleased to see an emphasis on encouraging behavioural change in communities, the role of partnerships, importance of catchment management and agreement on principles of conservation banking.

2. Last year we launched our new campaign to put water at the heart of a new way of living “Love Every Drop”. It’s a call to action to encourage our customers, communities, civil society, and stakeholders to fundamentally change the way we all engage with and use water. In responding to your questions, we’ve focused on those where we can feel we can add most value particularly in sharing our experiences of working with civil society through Love Every Drop and partnership working. We hope this is useful and if you’d like any further details we would be very happy to provide them or submit oral evidence.

What further research and/or evidence is required to develop practical programmes sufficiently detailed to deliver the White Paper’s ambition to fully embed the value of nature into policy delivery?

3. Estimating the true value of water and other natural resources and systems is complicated and embedding this into decision making and policy delivery equally so. We are continuing to work with Defra to explore how we can advance the evidence base and thinking in this area.

4. A particular focus for us is assessing the value of water in nature and in its various uses for social, economic and environmental benefit, and the implications this has for the water abstraction regime. We published a report “A Right to Water”1 earlier this year in partnership with Frontier Economics. In it we shared findings from our innovative study to explore options to improve arrangements for allocating water between the environment and water users, and between different users (such as agriculture, industry, public water supply and power). We looked at how the regime could be strengthened to meet the challenges of growth and climate change and found that innovative market-based approaches potentially offer more flexible ways of meeting these challenges in the future.

5. We continue to further thinking in this area through our sponsorship of the Cambridge University Programme Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) Collaboratory on Sustainable Water Stewardship. The programme includes a workstream on sustainable abstraction which, through a series of “gaming situations” is exploring options for reform, including market mechanisms, to see how well they could work in practice. The project brings together senior representatives across key relevant sectors to work together to seek new innovative approaches and we are delighted Defra2 is joining us in this initiative.

6. A potential barrier for this project is the availability and ease of access to relevant and robust evidence particularly information on how much water is taken from the environment. We’d also like to see easier access to fertiliser and pesticide application data in catchments to help target sources of pollution and encourage catchment sensitive farming measures. We’d like to see information made available without the need for Freedom of Information applications to facilitate further exploration of this critical area.

7. Another workstream in the CPSL Collaboratory programme is focusing on engaging with communities to promoting behavioural change particularly on water efficiency. This project again brings together representatives from a wide range of sectors to share their perspective and seek a collaborative response. It is looking at the various ways of motivating people to value water, to understand the wider benefits it brings to all our lives and to act in a way that reflects this. The project will deliver a practical behavioural change strategy tested through pilots in our region and refined into a strategy for wider adoption.

8. We’re pleased to be contributing to the evidence base in these important areas and results will be widely shared through the CPSL Collaboratory Sustainable Water Stewardship workshop next spring.

Does the white paper set out an accurate assessment of the barriers to public engagement with the natural environment and make the most effective proposals for re-engagement?

9. The barriers you identified reflect our experiences with main issues including demands on individual’s time, a lack of information about local opportunities and a need for expert advice for some types of local action. Other challenges we’ve come across include a lack of incentive or understanding of reasons to get involved, difficulties of changing routine and habitual behaviour ingrained for many years, how language used in engagement can itself become a barrier and more practical challenges for example a lack of space to install water butts or access to waste oil collection services.

10. Given the complexities of barriers and drivers for individuals we agree that multi-faceted approach to re-engagement addressing education, access both to information and to the countryside, voluntary action and health services etc would work best. We already do a lot of work in these areas, and share some examples of our experiences below:

11. Getting outdoors: Our 10 water parks welcome over two million visitors every year who enjoy themselves on, in our around the water. With activities from fishing to sailing, cycling, watersports, birdwatching and osprey-spotting, we’re a leading provider of the public open space that’s absolutely vital to the well being of the families and communities in our growing region.

12. We’ve found partnership working very successful and our nature reserves are managed in partnership with local Wildlife Trusts. We are interested in the proposed Local Nature Partnerships and would like to see opportunities to connect these with Local Enterprise Partnerships explored to ensure that health, wellbeing and economic prosperity are fully integrated in local decision making.

13. Education: Encouraging people to get outdoors alone is not enough. We need to encourage them to understand their impact and influence on the environment if we are truly to encourage them to change their behaviour.

14. Our Love Every Drop campaign launched last October does just that. Its all about helping people understand the realities of water use and climate change in our region and realise just how precious water really is. Through it, we are connecting people and the choices they make in their every day activities to their impact on the environment.

15. We want to help everyone see that by using water more wisely not only can they save money but they will help reduce carbon emissions, retain more water in the natural environment and allow water to be available for agriculture etc. Our metering and water efficiency programmes are designed to give the customer a choice of water-saving measures that suit their lifestyle and inspire them to have a positive impact.

16. Over the next five years we’ll install 183,000 meters in homes in some of the driest areas of our region taking us to about 80% domestic customers having a meter. This year we launched our five year programme to fit a range of water saving devices to 87,000 homes provided and installed free by qualified plumbers. What we’ve found particularly important in overcoming barriers to engagement is to use simple language, talking to our customers in the same way we’d talk to a friend or neighbour and to make it as easy as possible to get involved with the support of a trusted plumber. The results have been very encouraging with customers making average household savings of 40 litres a day.

17. Helping everyone understand why they need to act differently in the way they dispose of fats, oils, grease and unflushables is also critical. It costs more than £5.8 million a year maintaining and unblocking our regions sewers and also increases the risk of pollution. This could be avoided if these items were put into the bin instead of down the drain.

18. In the past we’ve tended to tackle the problem by clearing drains rather than addressing the cause by re-educating people and encouraging them to change their habits and behaviours. This year we’ve launched an industry leading social marketing campaign that seeks to deliver long term sustained behavioural change. It’s being piloted in Peterborough with domestic households and food service establishments and early results are very encouraging.

19. One of the initial barriers we found was a lack of awareness that it’s not just the responsibility of the local council or Anglian Water but that everyone plays a part in creating the problem and can play a part in the solution. So our campaign has focused on raising awareness of the problem, creating the conviction to act and making it easy to act by using practical giveaways such as sink strainers.

20. Getting the message across to people in a way that’s easy for them to understand has been critical. In Peterborough for example there are over 100 languages so we’ve translated our materials into the top three languages. We’ve also done research with customers to check we’re explaining what we want people to do in a way that makes sense to them. As a result, we’ve used a lot of rhyming messages which people told us they found most memorable.

21. An important and impactful way of communicating has been through trusted local sources. By working with key local stakeholders such as leaders of community groups who are respected locally, our message is more powerful and enduring as stakeholders are taking on responsibility for the initiative and maintaining interest in their neighborhood.

22. We’ve also found it’s important to have the mechanisms and interventions in place to help people change. For domestic customers we’re offering sink strainers and investigating how we can work with supermarkets and others to promote sanitary bags etc. For businesses, we’ve developed a pack with advice, posters and useful contact details and will be looking at options for improving waste oil collection in the future.

23. We’re continuing to monitor the results of our pilot and rolling it out wider in our region later in the autumn.

24. Voluntary action: We have been successful in developing the RiverCare project, with Keep Britain Tidy, which has over 1,000 active community volunteers. This project builds on our commitment in improving the quality of our regions rivers through our wastewater treatment sites but enables communities to take over where our treatment role ends by “adopting” stretches of watercourses. RiverCare groups across our region undertake litter picks, wildlife surveys, invasive species clearance and habitat management on a regular basis throughout the year.

25. Our RiverCare groups tend to have very high retention rates and the feedback we get from members is that they want to do more and contribute to regional and national projects. We’re delighted by this enthusiasm and are linking up with other organisations such as Wildlife Trust otter surveys and dragonfly project to help open up these kind of opportunities for members to get more involved.

26. We encourage our employees to get involved too through our new volunteering campaign “love to help”. Under the scheme Anglian Water matches up to 30 hours a year to help employees do more volunteering supporting Water Aid, River Care or local community projects.

27. We hope that the insights we’ve gained from our projects have been useful in your review, if you would like any more information or to see some of our projects first hand, we’d be delighted to arrange this.

26 September 2011

1 A Right to Water can be found at:

2 With Henry Leveson-Gower in particular.

Prepared 16th July 2012