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Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water
Type Limited Company
Founded 1974
Headquarters Nelson, Wales
Industry Public Utility
Employees 3,000
Parent Glas Cymru Ltd.

Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water (DCWW) is a company which supplies drinking water and wastewater services to most of Wales and parts of western England.

It is regulated under the Water Industry Act 1991.



Welsh Water originated from the privatisation of the Welsh Water Authority which itself had its origins in the Welsh National Water Development Authority that was created by the 1973 restructuring of the water industry in England and Wales. It took over the following public sector undertakings[1]:

  • South West Wales River Authority
  • Usk River Authority
  • Wye River Authority
  • Glamorgan River Authority
  • Gwynedd River Authority
  • Dee and Clwyd River Authority
  • Bwrdd Dŵr Eryri
  • Cardiganshire Water Board
  • Central Flintshire Water Board
  • Conway Valley Water Board
  • Gwent Water Board
  • Herefordshire Water Board
  • Llanelli and District Water Board
  • Loughor Joint Water Board
  • Merioneth Water Board
  • Mid-Glamorgan Water Board
  • Pembrokeshire Water Board
  • Radnorshire and North Breconshire Water Board
  • South-East Breconshire Water Board
  • Taf Fechan Water Board
  • West Denbighshire and West Flintshire Water Board
  • West Glamorgan Water Board

It also took over the water undertaking responsibilities of the following Local authorities:

  • Anglesey County Council
  • Cardiff County Borough Council
  • Carmarthen Borough Council
  • Carmarthen Rural District Council
  • Ceiriog Rural District Council (within catchment area of the River Dee)
  • Cwmamman Urban District Council
  • Llandeilo Urban District Council
  • Llandeilo Rural District Council
  • Llandovery Borough Council
  • Maelor Rural District Council
  • Wrexham Rural District Council

Welsh Water Authority was privatised by stock market flotation in 1989, along with the other nine regional water authorities, which provided the company with a substantial cash surplus for some years, which it used to diversify in a wide range of sectors including leisure (Hotels, Fishing etc.). It renamed itself Hyder in 1996 after taking over a local electricity company (SWALEC) and becoming a water and electricity multi-utility.

However, in 1999/2000, following the windfall tax on utility profits and the 1999 Ofwat price review, Hyder got into financial difficulties which led to its breakup following a takeover battle. Western Power Distribution purchased Hyder on 15 September 2000 with a view to acquiring its electricity distribution business, and rapidly sold off Hyder's other assets. Welsh Water was sold by WPD to Glas Cymru for £1, along with £1.85 billion of Hyder debt [1]. Under the terms of its licence Glas Cymru may not operate in sectors other than water.

The current business

Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water is owned by Glas Cymru, a company limited by guarantee. Most of Welsh Water's activities are outsourced to other companies. KWS Wales operate waste water in the south and United Utilities operate clean water for the whole of Wales and waste water in the north.


In general it provides services and operates across Wales from the catchments of the River Dee, River Clwyd in the north, round to the River Usk and River Wye in the south and everything to the west of these catchments. This means that it includes part of the Wirral and Cheshire, and also parts of Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire, particularly Hereford. It excludes the area of Wales drained by the River Severn, which is instead served by Severn Trent. It also excludes those areas supplied by private water utilities such as Dee Valley Water which operates in the River Dee catchment supplying the Chester and Wrexham areas with water.


  1. ^ The Welsh National Water Development Authority (Establishment and Constitution) Order 1973 (1973 No. 1345)

External links



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