Jargon buster

There are a large number of words and phrases, specific to the water industry, we explain a few of the key terms here:


An underground storage area of porous rock or soil where water is stored and from where it is extracted for water supplies.


The extraction of water from rivers, lakes, estuaries or underground rocks or soil, which is licenced and permitted by the Environment Agency.

Consumption per household

The average amount of water used by a household each day.


Water contained within underground rocks or soil.


The water which leaks out of a water company's underground pipes or the private water supply pipes which are owned by customers.


The economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.


A man-made lake which holds water, collected from rivers and rainfall before it is treated and distributed to customers.

Source station

A pumping station and/or treatment works which supplies treated drinking water from a specific water supply source.


The elevation of the ground (usually in metres above sea level), and the arrangement of physical features on the ground such as streams and roads.

Treatment works

A processing site used by a water company to take water from a river or underground source and where it is treated to make it safe to drink.

Water Act, 2003

An Act of Parliament passed in 2003 that governs the operation and regulation of water companies in the UK.

Water Cycle

The never-ending process by which water passes from the oceans to the clouds, back to Earth and returns to the oceans.