The reliability and quality of our services is essential to the people, economy and environment of Yorkshire. We have listened and actively responded when our customers have consistently told us this is a top priority. We have invested to create a resilient business, successfully maintaining services through many extreme events over recent years as well as responding to long term trends. However, there are always limits to levels of resilience and we can never be complacent because there are a range of growing challenges. That’s why we are working differently so we maintain and further enhance resilience while keeping bills low for customers.
We know how important it is to our customers that they can trust us to always act responsibly in their best interests and to provide highly reliable water and wastewater services today and long into the future, no matter what the circumstances.
In simple terms, that is what it means for us to be ‘resilient’.
How resilient are Yorkshire Water’s services?
Resilience has long been a priority for us because we know the significant impacts that can result from disruption to public water and wastewater services.
In the past, we have successfully managed a range of circumstances that have presented risks to our services. We have demonstrated our resilience to many periods of extreme hot, cold, dry and wet weather, and we have expanded our services to meet the demand of the growing population over recent decades.
The resilience of Yorkshire’s public water supply showed its limitations during the drought in 1995 and 1996, causing severe disruption to our customers. This has shaped our culture ever since and we responded by investing to develop one of the most resilient water services in the country.
In Yorkshire, we have a highly flexible and interconnected water grid that allows us to move water to where it’s needed, combined with extensive long term and emergency planning.
In our resilience framework and report, which you can find below, we provide a full overview of the resilience of each part of our business. We have scored the resilience of each business function over four timescales so you can see how we’re doing today and the impact of our plans into the long term.
The pressures facing our resilience
We have reviewed the latest evidence and listened to our customers, regulators and other stakeholders to inform our plans and our new approach to resilience.
In the 21st century, emerging threats such as climate change, cyber attacks and economic pressures pose new challenges. Risks are increasingly complex and unpredictable with greater reliance on technology, globalised supply chains and inter-dependent relationships between organisations, compounded with geopolitical instabilities.
Our resilience will be eroded by a range of pressures if we do not act. That is why we have built resilience into the heart of our activities and plans, which we explain in our resilience report below.
To inform our plans we worked with consultants at PWC to consider possible future scenarios for the UK water industry in light of the latest available evidence on future forecasts, projections and trends. You can download our joint report here.
Our resilience framework and report
We have worked with resilience experts at Arup to develop a best practice framework which enables us to better govern and openly report our resilience. The framework is leading in its use of ‘systems thinking’ and its process to consistently quantify resilience across the whole business.
We openly share the process and findings of our approach in our resilience report which you can download here. This is supported by a detailed appendix which provides an overview of the resilience in each part of our business and the services we provide.
We have aligned our new approach to resilience to the British Standard for Organisational Resilience (BS 65000) and we were the first water company to ask the experts at the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College to independently assess our maturity against the best practice standard.
Our new framework shows that our business plan will maintain and enhance resilience in all areas of our business and essential services, against a broad range of shocks and stresses.
Organisational resilience policy
Following the creation of our framework we have introduced a new Organisational Resilience Policy to shape and drive our approach across all of our activities.