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Prestigious award for environmental initiative Upstream Thinking

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South West Water has won a UK utility industry 'Oscar' for its flagship environmental programme to protect tap water quality for generations to come in the region.

'Upstream Thinking' won the Environment Award at the 2012 Utility Industry Achievement Awards held at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane, London.

Working together with a range of organisations including the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, Devon and Cornwall Wildlife Trusts, the Environment Agency and Natural England, Upstream Thinking has helped restore thousands of acres of wetlands which supply the majority of the region's water supply. Another key part of the project is work with farmers to help them protect water sources, which benefits farmers and helps control future water treatment costs.

It was the first project of its type in the UK and has already won national water industry awards and the praise of Water Minister Richard Benyon. Similar projects are now being adopted by other UK water companies.

South West Water's Environmental Manager, Martin Ross, said: "We're very proud to win the biggest green award in the utilities industry as championing the environment is one of our key company values. The award reflects really well on the hard work of our staff and partners.

"Upstream Thinking relies on voluntary partner engagement to deliver wide environmental benefits, including those helping our core business. It has delivered benefits not only to us, but to farmers, partners and the South West and it is on course to produce huge green dividends to all while helping control costs for customers in decades to come."

The project is delivered in partnership with a range of organisations including the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Dartmoor National Park Authority, Exmoor National Park Authority, Devon Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Natural England and English Heritage. Nine UK universities are supporting the programme with world-leading research methods.

The Utility Industry Achievement Awards, organised annually by Utility Week, recognise excellence across the utility industry, no matter what the sector, the size of the company or the scale of the project.

Upstream Thinking has already won the Partnership Initiative of the Year category of the 2012 Water Industry Achievement Awards, organised by the WET News and Water & Wastewater Treatment journals. It has also been recognised for leading the way in business sustainability with a Finance for the Future Award. For more information about Upstream Thinking, visit www.upstreamthinking.org

Notes to editors

  • South West Water provides water and sewerage services to over 1.6 million people across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset
  • South West Water operates over 630 sewage treatment works and 29 water treatment works
  • South West Water maintains 14,800km of public sewers and 15,101km of water mains
  • We supply our customers with around 349 mega litres (79 million gallons) of drinking water every day
  • On average, half a billion litres of sewage arrives at South West Water's treatment works every day.
  • In 2014 South West Water will submit its business plan for the years ahead to the UK water industry regulator Ofwat. We are inviting customers to find out more and tell us what they think our priorities should be at www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture

Published: 10 December 2012

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