Language is important. It’s why I use Police Officer over Policeman, Chair rather than Chairman and why I put my pronouns in my email signature. Language is also always evolving, and I hope that even when I’m 70 years old I will continue to learn and change my language to ensure people around me feel included and supported. That’s why when I received a kind WhatsApp from a friend and colleague questioning a word I used in an email my stomach dropped.  

But, every day is a school day, and the experience taught me some things, which I want to share with you too…

I work in Public Affairs for Anglian Water, so when we were 6 weeks out from the local elections I circulated some guidance internally about impartiality rules during the run up to the local elections. This “pre-election” period means that there are limits on what prospective political candidates can do and therefore how we, as Anglian Water, should interact with them. As far as I knew, this pre-election period was known as “purdah”. I’ve heard this word used in water and political circles on a semi regular basis. When you google it, purdah is defined as: The pre-election period is the period in the United Kingdom between the announcement of an election and the formation of the new elected government. 

However, it has another meaning which I was unaware of. It describes the religious and social practice of female seclusion and segregation prevalent among some Muslim and Hindu communities. Looking into it further I learnt that purdah takes two forms: physical segregation of the sexes and the requirement that women cover their bodies so as to cover their skin and conceal their form. The word itself is derived from the Hindi-Urdu and before that Persian word “Pardeh” meaning to cover up, wrap or hide.  

It turns out that some organisations have stopped using the term to describe the pre-election period, as they feel comparing the experience of women who choose to or are forced to carry out physical and social separation is by no means the same as the very small limitations put on prospective parliamentary nominees.  

I have subsequently changed the wording of the guidance to simply say “pre-election period” and have had some really interesting conversations with colleagues as a result. I have spoken to a Muslim friend, who reminded me that of course, not all Muslims will have the same view on whether or not the term should be used in the political context, or whether it could be deemed as insensitive.

What this experience has reminded me though, is about the importance of language in DEI. I am sure there are other words and phrases which have origins we would be uncomfortable with if we fully understood them.

Please share some with me if you know of any! 

-Lydia Dareheath CEnv, Public Affairs Manager, Anglian Water Services Limited

Integrating climate risk to reservoir water quality into water infrastructure planning

This PhD offers a world-class environment and highly competitive compensation (see funding). It is ideally suited to a motivated individual with a strong quantitative background, who is keen to develop a range of advanced technical and transferable skills that are highly sought after both in industry and academia.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with the forward-thinking Water Resources team at Anglian Water, a water company serving over 6 million people in the East of England. It features placements at Anglian Water totaling three months and a half, where the successful candidate will familiarise themselves with different aspect of water infrastructure adaptation to climate change. They will benefit from extensive training opportunities both at the University of Sheffield and at Anglian Water and will have regular interactions with both academics and practitioners to develop excellent research grounded in real-world applications.

The research will advance water infrastructure planning models and techniques by tackling an emerging threat to water supply: harmful algal blooms in strategic water supply reservoirs. They make water treatment difficult or even impossible and prevent recreational use of the water. They are more likely to appear in warm and shallow water, generally the double result of hot weather and drought-related pressures on supply. This means that reservoirs’ water may not be accessible when it is most needed: during hot, dry summers. Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of summer heatwaves and droughts. This will make the problem worse, but the consequences for the ability of reservoirs to ensure a reliable water supply have yet to be quantified. This knowledge gap has crucial implications for drought-resilient planning.

This project aims to address this gap by integrating water quality modelling into advanced decision-making frameworks for water resource planning. The work will quantify climate risk to reservoir water quality in a context of uncertainty in future water demands (withdrawals from reservoirs) and environmental regulation (abstractions from rivers into reservoirs). It will also propose operational strategies to minimise this risk. Results will directly inform water planning and billion-pound investment decisions, enhancing long-term drought resilience.


This is a full-time, fully-funded four-year PhD project, with expectation of thesis submission within the funded period. The successful applicant will receive a tuition fee waiver and a stipend of £19,359 per year over four years (note that since this is tax-free, this is equivalent to a nearly £30k salary in industry).

Please contact Dr Charles Rougé ( or Dr Isabel Douterelo Soler ( for informal inquiries

The Institute of Water’s National Drilling and Tapping competition took place in Birmingham at Utility Week Live on the 21st and 22nd May and proved again to be an exciting two days, drawing in a lively crowd, fantastic support and a lot of noise!

The Talis Men’s competition saw a close battle between underdogs Clancy Docwra, who have never previously made it to a Drilling and Tapping final and past champions Anglian Water who were both looking to take the trophy from last year’s winners Northumbrian Water.

The competition came down to the last run as both teams successfully secured a ‘quality tap’ however it was Anglian Water who stormed to victory and claimed back the title from Northumbrian Water with a run of 2 minutes 13 seconds. Jason Barratt (Solutions Delivery Engineer) and Lee Maddock (Clancy DOCWRA operative) from the Anglian Water team will now go on to represent the UK once again in next year’s 2020 World Water Cup competition in Orlando Florida!

Jason was delighted with their final run and said:

We had to stay cool under pressure and bring it home safely, sometimes that can be the difference between a win and a loss. We’re thrilled to have the Talis title once again and look forward to representing the UK in 2020!

There was no Women’s competition this year, however, Northumbrian Water Ladies team were recognised for their participation in the UK competition and awarded by sponsor Mueller.

We’d also like to wish Colin Pearson and Alan Dixon the best of luck from Northumbrian Water who are competing at the ACE competition, representing the UK in Denver next month!

Drilling and Tapping Competition 2019 Results

 1st Place and winner of the Talis Men’s Trophy
Anglian Water, 2mins 13secs

Clancy Docwra, 2mins 36secs

 3rd Place
Waternet, 2mins 47secs

The Institute of Water would like to thank all the teams, sponsors and judges involved in this year’s competition. There will be a full write up of the competition in the next issue of the magazine.

The UK Drilling and Tapping competition is organised by the Institute of Water. The next competition takes place at Utility Week Live in Birmingham’s NEC 2020. Entries and enquiries to Megan Williams (Institute of Water) at Web: @drillandtapping





As part of a new framework contract with Anglian Water, Veolia is targeting savings of £1.07million through process optimisation and energy management, and reducing the water company’s carbon footprint.

Since starting in late 2017, the three year contract has provided a range of optimisation services designed to support the company in its efficiency goals across its water and water recycling systems. The contract highlights the success of working collaboratively with Anglian Water’s experts and six other companies in the EE&O framework.

Anglian Water supplies 1.2 billion litres of water each day to its customers. As the largest water and water recycling company in England and Wales by geographic area, Anglian Water manages a network of 114,185 km of water and sewer pipes which is supported by their treatment facilities. Under the contract Veolia deliver an optimised process control service covering water supply, water recycling, aeration and pumping systems. By working collaboratively with Anglian Water’s Energy and Operational Optimisation teams, and implementing the latest optimisation techniques gained from worldwide best practice the water company gains from efficient use of energy and chemicals, and improved resilience in line with today’s water industry standards.

For water optimisation, the services include treatment processes and pumping systems, energy demand management, maximising plant availability, asset utilisation, HVAC and lighting. For Water Recycling optimisation (wastewater treatment works), Veolia provide services for sludge treatment, aeration processes, pump and compressor efficiency, steam generation and tariff management.

Commenting on the development, John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer – UK & Ireland Water & Industrial Customers at Veolia said, “Through technical innovation and secure service delivery, our work with Anglian Water is delivering real benefits, and is driving greater efficiency for the future. By working collaboratively with Anglian Water’s Energy & Optimisation initiatives and other framework partners we are helping them to achieve efficiency and regulatory targets, reduce their carbon footprint and improve resilience.”

Optimising water and water recycling assets is at the heart of Anglian Water achieving its strategic goals. Delivering an excellent value service to its customers, becoming Carbon Neutral by 2050 and meeting increased demand due to growth in the region, adapting to climate change, and improving the environment relies on optimal asset operation.

For more information visit