United Utilities is the North West’s water company and is responsible for managing the water and waste water across the region.

More than any other region, water makes the North West. It’s our most precious resource it makes the region greener, healthier and stronger – providing great jobs and opportunities, boosting our communities and ecosystems, not to mention creating breath-taking countryside.

We are delighted to be sponsoring the In-Cumbria Business Awards again.

Cumbria is at the very heart of our business – from the reservoirs that provide the country and the wider region with our water, to the larger catchment land we own and nourish.

We're proud of our contribution to Cumbria. We employ 500 people with 12 apprentices and graduates. Our call centre in Whitehaven is our largest and their hard work and customer focus has recently been recognised by the Institute of Customer Service who awarded them a service mark with distinction.

We've invested over £500m in Cumbria in the last 5 years. This includes undertaking one of the biggest engineering projects in our history to link West Cumbria to Thirlmere to provide a more resilient water supply for generations to come.

Despite the challenges the pandemic threw at the project, we were pleased that the first properties started to receive water from this new supply at the end of July with all other customers to be connected by the end of the year.

The project included the construction of a new 62-mile pipeline, a new treatment works, pumping stations and two huge service reservoirs have also been built. The works at Williamsgate is capable of treating up to 80 million litres of high-quality water every day and features the latest technology and is designed to accommodate future growth in the region.

The project has presented opportunities for over 50 firms and injected £52m into the local economy. At the same time, we've been able to provide placements for eight young people who were not in employment, education or training and jobs for three apprentices. The water treatment works will also be able to harness its own green energy from the force of the water arriving at the plant after it has travelled 30km from Thirlmere Reservoir.

The site has been installed with a hydro turbine which can generate 80kW of renewable hydroelectricity - enough to meet 40% of the site's needs or the equivalent of 175 homes. During construction more than 400,000 tonnes of earth was moved at Williamsgate.

£1.5m at Gosforth

The wastewater treatment plant at Gosforth has been upgraded to increase the amount of storm water that can be stored before treatment. This will improve the River Bleng.

£3.6m at Newbiggin

Newbiggin wastewater treatment works will be upgraded to increase the volume of wastewater it can treat. This will improve the quality of water in Morecambe Bay.

We are also proud to be part of the Love Windermere partnership which aims to tackle the challenges facing the lake, including pollution from nutrients, climate change and seasonal tourist numbers. A group of organisations including research, water, farming, NGO, charity and regulatory sectors are working together on a science-based plan to improve water quality in the lake.