Bristol Water Initiatives
We already have zero water poverty in Bristol, working with charities such as Step Change to deliver our range of social tariffs.
Our Bristol Water For All social contract mechanism may help to fund social tariffs if our initiatives don’t work
Our staff also raise money for WaterAid, who help to eliminate poverty through global access to clean water and sanitation
Sunex stands for Sustainable Urban food-water-energy NEXus. We are working with UWE and other partners to develop efficient supplies of energy, water and food for urban regions. The project has received funding from the EU. Bristol is one of four case study city regions taking part (Berlin in Germany, Doha in Qatar and Vienna in Austria have also been selected).
Our whole strategy is focused on good health and wellbeing. Our flagship lakeside leisure facilities at Chew Valley, Blagdon and Cheddar enable up to half a million visitors a year enjoy the South Bristol/Mendip lakes & countryside. We apply a co-creative inclusive approach to refurbish facilities; including picnic and play areas, car parks, nature trails, footbridges and info signs. Equality of access is our priority so all can enjoy the health and well-being benefits from access to this high quality water environment.Our partners include The Woodford Restaurant, Salt & Malt Restaurant, Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club, Cheddar Watersports Club, Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishing Association, Chew Valley Ringing Station, Volunteer Bird Wardens and Natural England.
We focus on two key aspects – building social mobility through how we develop the workforce of the future, and educating future consumers on the water environment and resource efficiency to deliver a sustainable future. We combine these together – for instance our Youth Board brings the views and ideas of young adults into our decision making. Spawn to be Wild helps ecology today and tomorrow by working with primary and secondary school children to learn about the ecology and life-cycle of eels. Students get the opportunity to raise and care for elvers (young eels) in their classroom and release them into Blagdon lake. Sunex stands for Sustainable Urban food-water-energy NEXus. We are working with UWE and other partners to develop efficient supplies of energy, water and food for urban regions. The project has received funding from the EU. Bristol is one of four case study city regions taking part (Berlin in Germany, Doha in Qatar and Vienna in Austria have also been selected).
We have signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge, and gender equality is a key focus for our employee forum, which forms part of our social contract governance process. Our staff provide role-models for future careers, particularly for STEM subjects and careers. We provide mentoring through Ablaze, a local charity that aims to inspire and motivate students to raise their aspirations and stay engaged with education. Activities delivered encourage students to set personal goals and work out their own plans for achieving them.
Clean water is our core social purpose, and is embedded in our history.
We are investing in renewable energy, using the expertise of others we work with in promoting resource efficiency through our Resource West partnership, which includes Bristol Waste and Bristol Energy
We are a highly skilled industry, requiring a range of technology, scientific and engineering skills. Our incubator “The Workshop” is supporting a range of entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs to start up and develop their businesses.
Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation is a key part of our core purpose as an organisation. We have committed to combining our resource efficiency efforts with other utilities, and will extend this to housing associations, landlords, water retailers and others. Our approach to biodiversity will help others achieve the “Vision for an Environmentally Sustainable Bristol” goal that all new developments achieve high standards of design for wildlife, water and wellbeing by 2036
We provide a safe and reliable supply to all, and address vulnerability by delivering services in partnership with those working with hard to reach consumers. We have more work to do to make our services as inclusive as possible, and we are at an early stage of tackling this long-term ambition.
Our whole Bristol Water For All Social Contract focuses in sustainability of life, work and the environment for the communities we serve. We support the Bristol Green Capital Partnership because they share this goal. The “Vision for an Environmentally Sustainable Bristol” includes a goal that Bristol’s larger employers (100+ employees) use natural capital accounting and are net positive in their impacts by 2030. Our Biodiversity Index and Social Contract Mechanisms will help us achieve this aim.
Resource West is our Partnership with other utilities and organisations to jointly promote water, waste and energy efficiency as a combined package of action that consumers can take. Our Water Bar and the Refill campaign promote the benefits of tap water consumption by promoting activity without single use plastics.
Reducing water consumption and leakage also helps to reduce carbon. We are also working to reduce our own carbon impact with a greater use of renewable energy, using the expertise of our Resource West partners. The plan for an environmentally sustainable Bristol targets 25% of electricity consumed in Bristol generated for renewables sites within the city by 2030, this is a goal we will measure our progress against.
Our raw water quality outcome measures how catchment management work with farmers will deliver reductions in phosphorus loads in the rivers feeding our lakes and water supply. We work with the Avon Wildlife Trust, such as at Herriots Pool Nature Reserve. This is a nature reserve next to Chew Valley Lake and supports international important wildfowl. The southern end around Herriot’s Bridge is a nature reserve where islands, lagoons, bays and channels have been created to provide safe areas for birds to roost, nest, feed and shelter. The rich waters of the lake teem with aquatic insects and water plants, which provide both protection and food.
Our Biodiversity Index ensures that we go well beyond our minimal legal obligations. It ensures a net gain in terms of the quality of habitats on land that we own. We are also committed to using the tool where we work on other land – for instance we improved habitats such as for bats as part of our Southern Resilience Scheme by using our Biodiversity Index Tool with our contractors.
Transparency and accountability is central to our Social Contract. We are measuring both customer satisfaction and community stakeholder satisfaction with the way we work. If we don’t deliver to the satisfaction of our partners, our Board will agree further investment in initiatives or social outcomes with the Bristol Water Challenge Panel, our customer forum and our employee forum. We have appointed a non-executive director with a specific role to represent the community stakeholder and employee perspective in our Board discussions, and changed our corporate governance to reflect our social purpose.
Partnerships are key to our social contract. One of our reasons for sponsoring the Bristol Green Capital Partnership was because of their focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and their focus on the Bristol One-City Plan. This also benefits the areas we serve outside of the city of Bristol, through the West of England Combined Authority strategy, and as our activities cover all the communities we serve equally.