In 1989, the government sold off our ten public water companies. Since privatisation, your water bill has increased by 40% in real terms. 

Our water and sewerage is now run by nine regional private monopolies which are mostly owned by investors as far afield as Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and for foreign governments, including Canada, China, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. It seems public ownership of water companies is acceptable, as long as it isn't the British public.

Read more about the water industry and how to bring it into public ownership again here.

Anglian Water is owned by a consortium of international investment funds. These include Colonial First State Global Asset Management (Australia) IFM Investors (Australia) and 3i (UK). Over 30% of the company is owned by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, a pension fund owned by the Canadian state.

A ‘repeat offender’ of water pollution according to the Environment Agency, Anglian Water provide water and water recycling services to six million customers in the East of England and Hartlepool.

Shareholders received £438m in profit between 2013 and 2017.
Anglian Water’s CEO, Peter Simpson, was paid £1,544,000 in 2017 in salary and bonuses. In 2018, Anglian Water's highest paid director recieved £1,921,000 in salary, bonuses and other perks.
Anglian Water loses 180 million litres of water every day through leaky pipes. 


Northumbrian Water is part of Northumbrian Water Group, which is ultimately owned by the Cayman Islands-registered Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Limited. CK Hutchison has investments in a wide range of sectors including telecoms, ports, water and energy companies. It is publicly traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Northumbrian Water supplies nearly 3 million people with water and sewerage in North East England. 

Their CEO, Heidi Mottram, was paid £953,000 in 2018, despite losing 133.8 million litres of water per day through leaky pipes. 

Northumbrian's shareholders received £999m between 2013 and 2017,

Severn Trent is a UK plc listed on the London Stock Exchange. 

Severn Trent supplies water to households and businesses, mostly in the Midlands and surrounding area.

It loses 431.6 million litres of water per day - over a bathtub per household!

Despite this, Severn Trent's CEO Liv Garfield is the highest paid in the sector, earning £2,084,000 in salary and benefits in 2018.

Severn Trent's shareholders took home a huge £1.1bn in profits between 2013 and 2017.


The ultimate owners of South East Water are the Utilities Trust of Australia (50%), an Australian infrastructure investment fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a pension fund owned by the Canadian Government (37.5%), and Desjardin Employees’ Pension Fund (12.5%), a North American pension fund. This means South East Water is effectively 37.5% owned by the Canadian state.

South East Water supplies water to 2 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.

South West Water is owned by Pennon Group Ltd (UK), a UK plc listed on the London Stock Exchange. Pennon Group also owns Viridor, a waste management company, and the Bournemouth Water brand.

South West Water provides drinking water and waste water services in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset.

84.4 million litres of water per day are lost through South West Water's leaky pipes.

Their CEO, Chris Loughlin, earned £660,000 in 2017 in salary, bonus and other remuneration. 

Shareholders have received £789 million in profits between 2013 and 2017

Southern Water is privately owned (through a series of holding companies) by the single-purpose company Greensands Holding Limited. Greensands is in turn owned by a series of investment and infrastructure funds, including UBS Asset Management (UK), JP Morgan Asset Management (US), Whitehelm Capital (Australia) and Hermes Infrastructure Funds (UK), amongst other. 

Southern Water supplies water and sewerage services to customers across the south of England.

They lose 88.1 million litres of water per day from the pipes in their network! 

Southern Water's CEO  Ian McAuley received £1066,000 in pay and other remuneration in 2018.

Southern's shareholders took home £622 million in profit between 2013 and 2017.

In June 2019, Southern Water was forced to pay a £126 million fine for letting sewage pollute the environment and deliberately misreporting its performance. 

Thames Water is owned by a series of investment companies, many of them sovereign wealth funds or pension funds owned and run by foreign governments. Thames Water's 2017 annual report in fact shows that the company is over 50% owned by foreign states through pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. 

UK's biggest water provider, supplying water and sewerage services to 15 million people in London and the Thames Valley and serve over one quarter of the UK's population. Thames Water has been criticised for financialising one of Britain's key utilities, prioritising shareholder dividends and operating with a high level of debt. A Financial Times investigation revealed that Thames Water paid no corporation tax between 2011-15.

They also lose 677.2 million litres of water per day through old and leaky pipes - more than any other water company!

Shareholders benefit from this scandal to the tune of £392 million in profits between 2013-2017.

In 2018, Thames Water's highest paid director received £851,000 in salary, bonuses and other perks.


United Utilities is UK plc listed on the London Stock Exchange, so is owned by a range of investors. 

United Utilities supplies water to 7 million customers in North West England, including the Lake District.

They leak an incredible 439.2 million litres of water through broken pipes every day! That's enough to fill 175 Olympic swimming pools, according to research.

Their CEO, Steve Mogford, earned a tidy £2,310,000 in 2017.

Shareholders received profits of £1.2bn between 2013-2017, the highest in the industry.

Since 2002, Wessex Water has been 100% owned by YTL Corporation, a Malaysian global infrastructure conglomerate. YTL Corporation is publicly traded on the Malaysian and Tokyo stock exchanges.

Wessex Water supplies over 1 million customers in Bristol, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire.

Its CEO, Colin Skellet, was paid £499,000 in 2017, and its highest paid director - Andrew Pymer - received £542,000 in salary, bonuses and other perks in 2018.

Shareholders took home profits of £533m between 2013-2017.

Wessex Water wastes 68.4 million litres of water per day through leaky pipes.

Yorkshire Water is ultimately owned (through a complex series of holding companies) by Kelda Holdings, which is incorporated in Jersey. Kelda is owned by a series of investment and sovereign wealth funds, including: RREEF Pan - European Infrastructure Fund (23.4%) Gateway Infrastructure Investments L.P., Gateway UK Water L.P. and Gateway UK Water II L.P., (managed by Corsair Infrastructure Management L.P.) (30.3%) Prudential (10.0%) SAS Trustee Corporation (10.0%).

Most notably, 26% of the company is owned by GIC Special Investments, a sovereign wealth fund owned by the government of Singapore.

Yorkshire Water provides water supply to customers in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire.

They waste an incredible 295.2 million litres of water per day! 

Despite this, their CEO Richard Flint was paid a staggering £932,000 in 2018

Shareholders took £412 million in profits between 2013-2017

Have you seen a story of privatisation failing? Email us the link at info@weownit.org.uk and we'll add it to the list!

Copy link