1995-2001 - International expansion

Last reviewed:
In 1995, Thames Water expanded internationally, becoming the world's third largest water company. International customers benefited from the company's expertise, while service continued to improve in the UK as well.

During 1995, Thames Water secured major contracts in Bangkok, Shanghai and Adelaide. In 1996 contracts were also secured in Puerto Rico and Turkey.

In 1997 Thames Water was awarded a contract to manage the water supply infrastructure in East Jakarta, Indonesia.

Also in that year Thames Water began the operations phase at the Da Chang water treatment plant in China, the first ever privately financed water Build Operate Transfer (BOT) in that country.

Thames Water continued its success in the UK's increasingly competitive market.

In the face of stiff competition the company extended its operations beyond the monopoly area after being selected by the Ministry of Defence to provide water services to its Tidworth Garrison.

Along with its partners in Stirling Water, it also secured a Public Finance Initiative (PFI) wastewater project in Edinburgh, Scotland.

One year later Thames Water was chosen to supply the world famous Brands Hatch motor racing circuit, located outside of its normal area of operation, in Kent.

During 1998 Thames Water continued to invest heavily in improvements, spending a record £471 million.

Projects included the introduction of state-of-the-art sludge incineration units at Crossness and Beckton and a new sewage pumping station at Abbey Mills, which won an architectural award.


Water supply infrastructure in Turkey

In early 1999 the company commissioned the new water supply infrastructure at Izmit in Turkey.

Just a few months later, in August 1999, an earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter Scale, struck the facility devastating local communities in the area.

Our plant and its associated pipe-work and dam had been designed to withstand earthquakes and remained undamaged.

By utilising all of our incident management expertise, and despite the surrounding destruction, we were able to help prevent disease in the region by continuing to supply safe, high-quality water in containers and via tanker rounds to homes, hospitals, 14 temporary campsites and other municipalities.

Within 24 hours of the earthquake, we had also flown in three airplanes carrying four trucks laden with emergency and medical supplies, four SUVs, standpipes and shower units.

In addition, we dispatched a twenty-man volunteer team of pipeline repair gangs, who assessed and repaired pipes and installed chlorination units into municipality reservoirs.

We also ensured our staff were supported during the aftermath of the earthquake and our homeless Turkish employees and their families were provided with prefabricated housing units.

Water operations in Chile

In 1999 Thames Water also began operations in Chile with a joint venture acquisition of the ESSEL water business in Rancagua.

The following year Thames Water took ownership of another of Chile's newly privatised water companies, ESSBIO which serves the City of Concepcion.

During 2000, Thames Water acquired the New Jersey-based Elizabethtown Water Company, our first core business in North America. We also signed a contract to build a water treatment works in West Bangkok, Thailand.

Return to Our history