Manuscripts and Special Collections

Post privatisation: Severn Trent Water, National Rivers Authority and Environment Agency, 1989-


In 1989 the government privatised the water industry and sold the ten water authoritites as water service companies. Severn Trent Water, owned by parent company Severn Trent Plc (which was also formed in 1989), took over responsibility for water supply and sewerage from Severn Trent Water Authority. Severn Trent Plc owns a portfolio of companies mainly in the US, UK and parts of Europe focussing on treating, measuring, analysing and delivering water resources.

After privitisation Severn Trent Water's day to day operations were managed at District level. Each District had responsibility for sewage treatment, supply and distribution, maintenance, and industrial services (byelaws and sampling), working closely with staff from Severn Trent Engineering (design and asset management).


The Sherwood District area covered North Nottinghamshire, down as far as Mansfield, and reaching north as far as Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, taking in part of Doncaster, Yorkshire. The headquarters were based at the Great Central Road Offices and Depot in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Neighbouring Nottingham District covered South Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City, Newark and Southwell, in Nottinghamshire. Headquarters were based at Hucknall Road, Nottingham.

In the same year as the water authorities became water service companies, the National Rivers Authority became responsible for managing water resources, investigating and regulating pollution, controlling floods and draining land. It was replaced by the Environment Agency in 1996, which has broader responsibilities for protection and enhancement of the environment as a whole, including flooding, waste, waterways, fisheries, etc.



A small number of records created by the National Rivers Authority and Environment Agency have been transferred to the University by the Environment Agency. These are a continuous series of minutes and accompanying papers of the Regional Flood Defence Committee for the Severn-Trent/Midlands Region:  Regional Flood Defence Committee Severn-Trent Region 20 Oct 1989 to 12 Jan 1996, Midlands Region 19 April 1996 (RRA/G/1); Regional Flood Defence Committee Midlands Region 19 July 1996 to 14 July 2010; Severn-Trent Flood Defence Committee Midlands 13 Oct 2010 - 11 Jan 2011; Severn-Trent Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Midlands 12 Apr. 2011 - 17 April 2012 (REA/G/1).

At present only a small amount of records relating to the privatised Severn Trent Water have come into the University's custody; this has been as a result of clearances of various properties once owned by the company.

Multi-level descriptions of the Severn Trent Water records are available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue. The catalogue was produced in 2011-2012 with support from The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme.

The series of files (RST/F) belonged to the Supply and Distribution Manager of the Sherwood District, and relate primarily to the District's involvement in the Nottingham-Sherwood Water Supply Strategy Scheme. This aimed to ensure a safe and sufficient supply of water to reduce groundwater nitrate concentrations in Nottinghamshire to European Commission water quality requirements. This involved investment in water treatment works and the development of new sources (via the construction of new borehole pumping stations, and variations of licences for existing borehole abstractions). It also involved extending existing sources on the 'confined' sections of Bunter sandstone aquifer (the traditional source of water supply for Nottinghamshire) which is better protected against nitrates from farming fertilisers, by blending it with the poorer quality water taken from other sections. Work also continued on reinforcing and relining mains for carrying the water to improve pressure and security of supply in order to meet prescribed targets for levels of service.   

Other concerns include fluoridation, ammoniation, Cryptosporidia, water hardness and drinking water quality in general. The files also cover the Company's use of technology for plant monitoring and control, and the administration of work schemes, including dealing with contractors at the various groundwater abstraction pumping stations within the Sherwood District: Amen Corner, Barnby Moor, Boughton, Budby, Chequer House, Clipstone, Far Baulker, Fishpool, Markham Clinton, Normans Hollow, Ompton, Rainworth, Rufford, Rushley, Sunnyside and Clipstone Forest (all in Nottinghamshire).

A collection of colour photographs (RST/Ph) document maintenance works and repairs to burst mains within the Nottingham District, and include some photographs used for a Nottingham District flyer.


New 24-hour customer helpline, as featured in the Nottingham District flyer, c.1989-1991 (RST/Ph/1/1/54)

New 24-hour customer helpline, as featured in the Nottingham District flyer, c.1989-1991 (RST/Ph/1/1/54) 


Next page:  Papers of hydrologist H.R. Potter, c.1925-2000 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

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