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‘above the call of duty’

december 2012 | thameswater.co.uk

Customer service


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Remembrance service pays tribute to fallen heroes Movember: bros caught with the fuzz Latest on prestigious projects at Victoria Station Borehole: changing the world from the bottom up

Get ready for winter with our guide Give Someone a Start ‘massively rewarding’ Thames 4 Bangladesh quarter two update

Editor’s column Welcome to the warmest ever Source magazine. In line with our winter campaign, red-hot designer Liam Curtis expertly knitted the cover and is now considering festive orders for scarves and cardigans. The heart-warming tale of Dan Rubio between his stitches and on page five is a glowing example of how everyone can play their part in improving customer service. I spoke to Dan and he is a genuine bloke who really cares for his community. Also this month we have the ‘Give someone a start’ update, while Mogden process manager Zak Espi-Castillo talks of fulfilling his Tae KwonDo ambition. I certainly didn’t argue when the World Cup champion, who trains before and after work most days, asked me to change his picture just before going to print. And soon it will be Christmas. Before then please take a look at the ‘elf and safety’ information in the centre to make sure you are fit and well to enjoy the big day. Have a good one… Stuart stuart.white@thameswater.co.uk

2 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Horrorshow river run

Don’t worry, it’s just Andy Gingell doing his best Shaun of the Dead impression. The capital delivery communications executive took part in a Halloween 5km race along the River Thames in Reading with 500 other zombies, witches and ghouls. He said it was a bit more interesting than “your average jog in the park”, adding: “I’m always up for a challenge, so couldn’t resist

the chance to run as Shaun from the British zombie comedy film Shaun of the Dead. “It’s really hard to find a cheap cricket bat at this time of year, however with some cardboard and sticky back plastic I managed to botch something together. Despite the rain, it was a great laugh.” Turn to page 22 to find out who won the Halloween Fives at ‘Ghouls’ in Woodley.

Water company tax explained Chief finance officer STUART SIDDALL outlines the facts behind headlines in the national papers last month

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hames Water has not paid any corporation tax for the past three years, reported the national press last month. In response, the Thames Water press office made the following points to media: • Government allows companies to delay paying corporation tax, not avoid it, based on how much they invest. • The aim of the Government’s ‘capital allowance’, as it is known, is to encourage companies to carry out much-needed investment while keeping customers’ bills low. • Thames Water is delivering a record £1bna-year programme of essential upgrades to its pipes, sewers and other facilities. This is improving services for its 14 million customers

while keeping their bills the second-lowest in the sector. • If the capital allowance didn’t exist it would mean either less investment or higher bills for customers. • Water companies are delaying these corporation tax payments, not avoiding them altogether. Thames Water currently has a delayed corporation tax bill of nearly £1 billion, which will be paid in future years.

“WATER COMPANIES ARE DELAYING CORPORATION TAX PAYMENTS, NOT AVOIDING THEM ALTOGETHER” • Thames Water continues to contribute around £150m annually to the public purse in other tax, including central and local government business rates, PAYE (‘pay as you earn’ for its 4,500 employees), national insurance and energy and environmental obligations. • All the active companies in the Thames Water group are UK-registered and pay tax to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.


‘ROLE MODEL’ Chris a Rising Star Stakeholder planning manager CHRIS VINSON has been named one of eight industry Rising Stars for 2013 by the Institute of Water BY STUART WHITE

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hris Vinson is relishing the chance to represent Thames Water and the south east as an Institute of Water Rising Star for 2013. The scheme is designed to encourage the development and raise the profile of young individuals under the age of 30 employed in the sector. The 28-year old was singled-out last month as the region’s top candidate following a successful interview with IoW south east committee members David Port, Black & Veatch, and Steve Youell, Portsmouth Water. IoW chief executive Lynn Cooper said: “His understanding of the water industry and potential for further progress was abundantly evident and the committee had no hesitation in nominating Chris as the Rising Star for the south east.”

“I’M GOING TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME WITH THIS RECOGNITION” Chris, who lives in Hampton, said: “I’m delighted to be selected, and look forward to making the most of the opportunities that come with this recognition. “Joining this scheme will give me a great opportunity to further my professional development, build my profile and network with key individuals in the industry. “While the award package has many parts, I’m particularly looking forward to masterclasses with Chris Loughlin, chief executive of South West Water, and Roger Harrington, managing director of Sembcorp Bournemouth Water.” His manager Victor Freeney, head of stakeholder engagement, said it was a “huge achievement”, adding: “Chris has been instrumental in pulling together a comprehensive and robust customer engagement programme to

support our price review since joining my team at the beginning of last year. “He is a committed team player who finds the time to address matters across the department – not just in his own area. He is clearly a role model for our younger graduates who can learn a lot from his collaborative and inclusive approach to problem solving that has enabled him to achieve so much already. I am sure Chris will continue to make further progress from here.” Chris joined Thames Water’s graduate programme in 2006 having completed a master’s degree in catchment management and has since held a range of roles in operations, regulation and now external affairs from the company’s Clearwater Court head office in Reading. And the amateur rugby player, a second row for Thamesians RFC in Twickenham, who stands at 6ft 4in tall, has not looked back since turning down an environmental consultancy to commit himself to Britain’s biggest water firm. His greatest achievement to date, he confirmed, has been the price review work his manager praised involving the strategy and programme for engaging customers. “It has been challenging and rewarding in equal measure,” he said. “I’m confident that what we’ve put in place is as good as anything in the industry and will deliver a positive outcome for our customers and the company.”

‘Potential and appetite’ The Rising Star programme was introduced in 2012 to celebrate and reward eight young people – one from each UK region – who can demonstrate both the potential and an appetite to progress in the water industry. There will be a programme of activities specifically designed to help this process throughout next year, starting with a seat at the Utility Week Industry Achievement Awards

ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair on December 10. Candidates were invited to apply by writing a short paper outlining why they consider themselves to be a Rising Star and where they would like to be in 10 years time. They also had to explain what they thought the benefits of the recognition would be to themselves, their company and the industry.

Chris Vinson outside Thames Water HQ

www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 3


NEWS Big fat cheesier quiz The Big Fat Cheesy Quiz is back – and it’s going to be much bigger and a whole load cheesier than ever. The target is to beat last year’s £35,000 raised for WaterAid, and so as many employees as possible are encouraged to battle it out against the smartest contestants from Thames Water, its contractors and suppliers. The final of the table quiz-style event will be staged on March 7 in Reading and hosted once again by Simon ‘Borehole’ Evans. To get things started there will be some ‘just for fun’ quizzes at a number of sites in the first week of December. Even if you missed out on the warm up heat, you can still enter a team of up to six people for the qualifying heat held during week commencing January 14. To raise money for WaterAid, you will be asked for a donation of £6 per team to enter. The four highest scoring teams from these heats will be entered into the final on March 7. Contact internal communications for more information.

Waterwisely and drought in running Thames Water is in the running for two Utility Industry Achievement Awards this month. The company has been shortlisted for the ‘Marketing initiative of the year’ for its work on the drought and ‘Customer care award’ for the Waterwisely website. Pictured here getting into character ahead of the glitzy ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on December 10 is communications and brand duo Sarah Riahi and Andy Freeman. Results and pictures from London in next month’s Source.

Trade Union representative Alan Yorston, business strategy manager Keith Gardner, Thames Water retiree and standard bearer Tony Gernon, chief executive Martin Baggs, Retirement Association chairman Doug Wright and HR director Janet Burr

‘A mix of pride, respect, recognition and reflection’ Business communications advisor RORY BROUGHAL organised Thames Water’s annual Remembrance Service at Ashford Common water treatment works

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hames Water’s Remembrance Service was described as a fitting blend of pride, respect, recognition and reflection. Chief executive Martin Baggs joined around 100 ex-armed service staff, members of the Thames Water retirement association, directors and senior managers for the annual event on November 9 to remember former colleagues who bravely gave their lives in the two World Wars. Martin said afterwards: “The whole occasion is a blend of pride, respect, recognition and reflection and, in such busy times, to me it is really important that we take a few quiet

“SOME THINGS MUST ALWAYS TAKE PRIORITY OVER EVERYTHING ELSE” moments to think about the people that have made a huge sacrifice on our behalf. “Sometimes it is all too easy to forget, both with the passing of time and competing demands on our diaries, that some things must always take priority over everything else. Our Remembrance Service will always be one of them.” The service is held every year at Ashford 4 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Common water treatment works beneath two memorials inscribed with the names of those who died during the wars and a plaque recording the dedication of the Ring Main to their memory. Typically, around 100 people squeeze into the hallway and line the staircases for the service. A local vicar conducts a short service of remembrance and five wreaths are laid on behalf of all ex-armed services staff, Thames Water’s employees, our retirement association, the trade unions and the Thames Water branch of the Royal British Legion. Once the wreaths are laid a bugler plays the Last Post and there is a two minute silence. After the service all of the guests are invited for refreshments and always enjoy the chance to catch up and reminisce about old times. Organising this event gives you a real sense of pride in Thames Water, the history behind the company and how close our links are with the armed forces. Our retirees are great to talk to as well – one gentleman who comes every year began working for the London Metropolitan Water Board in 1945. They are full of stories and still really interested in how Thames Water operates. If you have served or are serving in the armed forces and would like to attend next year’s event please email rory.broughal@ thameswater. co.uk.


NEWS

CUSTOMER SERVICE

‘above the call of duty’ With improving customer service number one on the company’s agenda, DAN RUBIO is a shining example of how support staff can add real value BY STUART WHITE

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an Rubio was driving home from a night out with his girlfriend when he saw water rushing down a hill outside a retirement home in Reading. With no Thames Water presence at the scene, the learning and development specialist slammed on the brakes to add his support instead of driving through the floods to

Dan Rubio was praised for his actions

the comfort of his warm duvet. Dan, 29, was aware of the concern elderly residents at Pegasus Court, by the burst in Park Lane, Tilehurst, must be feeling and so whipped on his Thames jacket to provide welcome reassurance. “It is very distressing seeing water like that running down a hill and I wanted to make sure there was a Thames Water physical presence at the scene,” he said, after reporting the leak on October 30 to Kemble Court at 11pm.

“I WANTED TO REASSURE PEOPLE WE WERE AWARE OF THE LEAK AND DOING SOMETHING TO FIX IT” “There was real concern this could get worse, the New York storms at the time made it more of a worry, and I wanted to reassure people that we were not only aware of the leak but also doing something to fix it.” Pegasus Court administrator Alan Gower praised Dan’s actions, saying he went “above the call of duty” to help get the problem solved. He said: “Although Dan could have done what a lot of other drivers did that night and drove through the rushing water, you

stopped and telephoned Thames Water to set the wheels in motion. You got the ball rolling on people coming out to urgently track down the burst main. And you didn’t just disappear when they arrived – you were still there keeping me company in my hour of need.” It took the gang of NSTs until 1.15am to reach the valve, which had been concreted over, to shut off the main and it was only at 2.30am that Dan felt ready to go home. “The actual valve to shut off the main was 250 yards round the corner, out of sight, and so I hung around,” Dan, who has worked in the HR department for nine years, added. “I wanted to see it through to the end and make sure the NSTs could get on with fixing the problem without being asked loads of questions. It was a long night and both my phones ran out of battery, but it was worth it for the community.” Make sure you have the leakline number 0800 714 614 saved in your phone – or use the Twitter hashtag #tweetaleak.

Hero is back Nominate for your Hero of the Month through our Employee Recognition Scheme. Each month chief executive Martin Baggs will choose who will take the glory and be splashed across posters on sites and featured in the Source. Nominate on the portal or email rory.broughal@ thameswater.co.uk.

Smart at heart ahead of computer upgrades With Thames Water’s Upgrading Your Computer project fast approaching, the Smart IT team have been bringing a group of ‘experts’ up to speed. Documentum data stewards, super users and champions – more than 140 from all areas of the business – were invited to a Smart IT Experts Conference at Wokefield Park recently to fine-tune their knowledge. Head of IS Aiden Heke discussed the reasons for Smart IT and the improvements made, while other sessions included a look at the improved features of the computer upgrades and the role of the experts. Programme manager Nigel Scott said: “The event thanked the champions, data

stewards and super users for what they have done so far but, at the heart of it, we wanted to give them more confidence and knowledge to give the business a network of support for Smart IT. Data steward Debby Roberts said “the opportunity to network and learn from others’ experience was really useful” while super user Keith Herbert claimed the computer upgrade “looks excellent and is well overdue”. The Upgrading Your Computer project kicks-off in February, although a pilot scheme started this month. Visit the Smart IT help space on Documentum using the link on the front page of the portal for more information

Super user Jenny Sumner, champion Clair Morland and data steward Adam Williams www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 5


NEWS Coast cleared for sailor Jerry BY CRAIG RANCE Jerry White found a novel way of getting the ‘Waterwisely’ message on board when he was interviewed on a narrow boat by Miranda Krestovnikoff. Thames Water’s head of WAMI programme delivery was invited to speak to the presenter of BBC’s Coast on the River Thames in Oxford about this year’s topsyturvy weather. Amateur sailor Jerry, who has previously crewed a boat to the east coast of Norway, is no stranger to television cameras. Last month his interview with Gloria Hunniford, comparing tap against bottled water on Rip Off Britain, saw him accused of “outrageous flirting” by friends, colleagues and even his wife. The latest interview on November 12 covered serious questions about the crazy weather and how, after the driest two years on record, areas of Dorset and Hampshire are now at risk of flooding because groundwater levels are so high. The weather seemed to know it was the star of the show as the entire interview took place on the bow of the boat in freezing rain. Look out for the interview on BBC South East in mid-December.

Victor Freeney with the councillors on tour at Crossness

Crossness captures council’s imagination An “astonishing” number of representatives from Bexley Council visited Crossness last month BY SONIA RANA

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ead of stakeholder engagement Victor Freeney was delighted with the “great turnout” for a tour of the UK’s second largest sewage treatment works. He said he has never known so many representatives from one council attend a single visit after the successful event on November 9.

“I WAS VERY SURPRISED BY THE LACK OF SMELL”

Jerry White with Miranda Krestovnikoff

Among the 18 guests who snapped up the opportunity to find out more about the site, which serves around two million Londoners, were local MP Teresa Pearce, Bexley council’s chief executive and deputy director of development, and nine members of the planning committee, including the chair.

‘Strange rocking a Burt Reynolds’ Check out the face fur on these Mo Bros. As you would have noticed, an army of dedicated razor dodgers across the business have been taking part in Movember to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health – specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Neil Sibley, an escalations agent at Kemble Court, was one of those growing, sculpting and embracing his moustache. He said: “It has been so strange rocking my Burt Reynolds Mo, but it is for a good cause so no matter of itching and scratching can dampen my spirits.” At the time of going to print the Thames Water teams had raised around £3,500 of the £10,000 target, but much more is expected before the big shave on December 1. See next month’s Source for full details and more Mo-tastic snaps. Neil Sibley

The group was given a tour of the works and witnessed the progress of its £220 million expansion to boost treatment capacity by 44 per cent. They were also taken inside the site’s architecturally stunning sludge-powered generator which turns incinerated sludge waste from the treatment process into renewable energy. Next year work will start on building an additional £50m facility to capture more energy from sludge treatment – enough to power 10,000 homes. “Many of the visitors have been involved in the planning process of the huge investment taking place here,” added Victor. “The Crossness team worked hard putting on this event, and it was very worthwhile. We received fantastic feedback. They were genuinely interested in what we do and appreciated the insight.” Councillor Gill MacDonald added: “The tour and briefing was very informative and answered many questions. I was very surprised by the lack of smell. I liked the sludge cake making machine and now know what happens to the end product.”

Mick Tutton

Stephen Payne

Marc Garcia

Darryl Archer

Alistair Scothern

Simon Moore


The works compound at Victoria

First class service for old Victoria Fewer delays, less congestion, step-free access and quicker journeys. These are the key benefits of London Underground’s Victoria Station upgrade, says project manager JONATHAN CURRY London is currently preparing for growth and this has resulted in a number of large developments and upgrades to major transport hubs. Thames Water’s developer services team are currently at the heart of two prestigious projects at Victoria Station – the second busiest railway terminus in London and the UK after Waterloo. The upgrade project is valued at £700 million and our team is working closely with London Underground to make it a success ahead of the expected completion date in 2018. This comes with many challenges as we look at ways to either divert or protect clean and waste water assets in the area – many of which are in excess of 100 years old. The month of October bought two important milestones. The first was the completion of a 30 inch strategic trunk main diversion, which was required to Project manager Jonathan Curry

enable vital construction works at the station to commence. As always health and safety was a priority and a strict safe method of work was followed. We had a tight working area to enable buses to leave the station terminus, ensure noise levels

“THE FINAL ABANDONMENT OF THE OLD MAIN WAS RUN LIKE A MILITARY OPERATION BY CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARTIN UNWIN” were kept to a minimum during nearby theatre performances and, of course, ensure the public were protected. The final abandonment of the old main was run like a military operation by construction manager Martin Unwin, as we only had a short widow in which the main could be shut in. Despite the challenges the work was completed ahead of time and without incident. The second milestone was the completion of the removal and reinstatement of the 2.5 by 3.5 metre

Managing sewer flows at the King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer

diameter King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer, which is in fact the old River Tyburn. This was to allow an underground pedestrian link tunnel to be constructed for the new station ticket hall. As well as the station works, there is another large development at Victoria known as the ‘Victoria Circle Development’ and this will see the existing buildings revamped to create around a one million square feet space by 2015 at a cost of £500m. Developer services has started the abandonment of mains to allow demolition to begin, and January will see the commencement of works to protect the Western Deep Sewer which runs 30m beneath the site. www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 7


GOING FOR GOLD

Squeezing out more savings The capital programme has been set the challenge of achieving £209 million in efficiency savings across AMP5. So we now need your help in reducing risks and increasing efficiency to hit our target

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he Going for Gold capital programme challenge is split across the entire fiveyear AMP5 period and hit its targets in the first two years. The aim this year is to save £40.8m. At the moment £31m of savings have been achieved, but £20m was lost in risk. Risk is taken away from efficiency savings, putting the overall savings at just under £11m (as of November 19).

How d’ya like them apples? A potential example of efficiency savings is the Bucher Press, writes Andy Gingell. This takes technology used in the UK cider industry, but rather than squeezing juice from fruit we’re using it to squeeze water from sludge (the byproduct of the sewage treatment process).

“BEING EFFICIENT IS ABOUT DOING WHAT’S REQUIRED FOR LESS, WITHOUT IMPACTING QUALITY” It’s used in a number of sewage works in Europe, but this is a first for the UK. Following the success of a research trial at the Basingstoke works, capital delivery has procured and is installing a Bucher Press at the Oxford works which will start its operational

trial in the New Year. If successful, it could lead to these presses being installed at up to four sites this AMP. Tests have shown this press can squeeze an extra 10 per cent of water out of the sludge compared to existing belt type presses, meaning potential capex savings at two sites. This may enable us to fund Bucher Presses elsewhere to maximise opex efficiencies for years to come. Dryer sludge is much reduced in volume so requires fewer lorry movements to recycle to land. It is also easier to store. The next step could be burning dry sludge which will reduce energy requirements at our sludge powered generators. If you’ve got any ideas, big or small, to help achieve our efficiency targets email goingforgold@thameswater.co.uk.

Reduce risk and cut cost

So far this year we’ve identified £10.3m of savings through the Risk and Value Challenge workshops. KIRSTY TELLING asks: “What can you add?” We all know that keeping our costs down to a minimum makes good business sense, but how often do we really challenge processes and think about how things are run? The Risk and Value Challenge process helps to do exactly those things. The idea is to innovate, address root cause and solve problems. Challenge workshops are facilitated by a group of volunteers from across the business. Anyone can be trained to be a facilitator – all you need is to be interested in learning new skills and challenge the way we do things. It is a great way to gain experience in another area of the business and expand your skill base. The initial training involves a three day residential course. After which, you will meet quarterly as a group to continue development and share best practice. Both the course and facilitator roles are open to everyone, so email RiskandValue@thameswater. co.uk to register your interest.

Deep underground A foot-wide sewer pipe which had collapsed seven metres below ground in Carlyle Avenue has been replaced by Thames Water. The pipe gave way, meaning a complicated task for the skilled engineers who had to dig a trench deeper than it was wide in the busy north London street. Despite the challenging conditions, work finished a week early and the final reinstatement of the road took place on November 19. 8 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk


Twitter – one good, one bad

BOREHOLE with media manager Simon Evans

Each month BH drills down on the news and issues affecting Britain’s biggest water firm

Happy customer : Just spoken with Gemma in cu stomer services. My query was dealt with promptly and efficiently. Deserves recognition ! Unhappy custom er: Dear Thames Water - so glad you’re digging up the dra ins on my street soon - is that where you keep your tax?

Kiwi to ‘Britify’ Indians Thames Water is sending a delegation of “cultural ambassadors” to “Britify” India-based Wipro staff providing IT services to employees at Britain’s biggest water firm. Leading the tea-drinking team of union jackwaving Brits to the sub-continent is chief information officer Aiden Heke – the vowel-crunching, Invercargillborn New Zealander and die-hard All Blacks rugby supporter. Naturally.

Tax avoidance – the story you didn’t read in the paper While in conversation with the reporter who wrote a piece for a Sunday paper on water firms not paying corporation tax, BH asked after a mutual pal who works shifts on the paper on a temporary basis. “He’s not in today. Every now and again he has to take three weeks off so we can pay less tax,” came the reply, to the incredulity of a gobsmacked BH.

Freshu – changing the world from the bottom up

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t isn’t often a story captures truly captures the zeitgeist to the point where a journalist covering it becomes lobbyist-in-chief for the company whose press release he’s using. But that’s what happened with our tale about Freshu, an antibacterial foaming gel to apply to toilet paper to give it the same wiping firepower as a wet wipe but without the sewerclogging consequences. The press office spent a few thankless days selling the story to largely disinterested hacks – until Times science editor Tom Whipple decided to go large on page 3, pictured.

Dodgy geyser Every now and again one of our mains goes pop in spectacular style – but nothing yet (touch wood) to rival this whopper in Melbourne, Australia, as seen on BBC online.

By lunch-time that day Tom was in the BBC Radio 2 studio explaining to Vanessa Feltz how ‘fatbergs’ form. Wet wipes cling to congealed food fat, leading to 80,000 blockages a year on Thames Water’s 109,000km of sewers. The real problem, said Tom, is wet wipe manufacturers’ labeling. They say products are ‘flushable’ or ‘biodegradable’ when they’re not, they should never go down drains, said our man from the Times. “Well, it’s clear what needs to happen here, wipes manufacturers need to be told to label their products correctly,” said Feltz. Result.

‘Thames bought by French,’ says Ken Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, during a discussion about gas prices on LBC Radio, said: “It’s the same with the water companies. Thames Water got taken over by a French company and then they got a desalination plant built, the most expensive way of providing water, which meant they made a big profit with their subsidiary in France and we pay for it...” Er, mais non, Monsieur.

BH continues to single out the most entertaining examples of business-speak waffle in a bid to hold up a mirror to all of us

NO JARGON

Strategic: When you use this word in every sentence it loses its meaning. Come on, people, let’s find another word. Asset modeling: For BH this is something to which subeditors compiling page 3 of the Sun devote their time. But I’m assured by our boffins that for us this means predicting when our kit might break. Migrating services: Migratory birds migrate. Clue’s in the verb. Your email changes from Lotus Notes to Windows Outlook. Again, clue’s in the verb. Granularity: If you want more detail, ask for more detail. Granularity is not gravy, it’s nonsense. www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 9


‘Astonishing amount to learn’ Following on from Kate Organ in November’s Source, TOM EARNSHAW is another of the 23 graduates new to Thames Water. From busy days at Kemble Court to aromatic placements in sewage treatment works, he talks about his experiences in operations control and life as a graduate

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ime has simply flown by since the exciting moment when I was offered a place on the graduate scheme. I graduated from Reading University in 2011 with a BSc geography degree and, after a few months of travelling, found myself keen to find a job which would provide two things: hands-on learning and interaction with teams across a business. Thames has certainly provided this so far.

My highlight so far Undoubtedly, spending a day with the environmental protection team touring the drains and sewers of Edgware. Seeing how this team identified misconnected properties was fascinating, and goes to show just how seriously the business takes pollutions, no matter how small.

WaterAid Lottery Kelvin Stagg followed up September’s runners-up prize by scooping the £800 WaterAid Lottery jackpot for October. Runners up in the monthly draw, each receiving £25, were: JD Jaggs, Samantha Oare, PC Noble, PG George, OM Nottingham, PIG Harris, Rob Parsons, Jasmine Jawkes, William Brownlee, Sarah McKenna, Shirley Jones, IM Larkins, Peter Cotton, Francis Egleton, PF Clampton, KTV Vale, David Parkes, S Hill, Amanda Gould, M Wise, Amanda Bayliss, NF Pavey, Harshad Mistry, Brian Rosmus and Alfred Taylor.

Water Reporter Our new-look Water Reporters are being trialled now in Thames Water employees’ homes. By receiving real time data from a meter, customers can tell how much water they are using and help identify any leaks more efficiently. If you live in Swindon or Reading and want to try a Water Reporter email brightideas@thameswater.co.uk. 10 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

‘Control never sleeps’ It seemed to me that control – part of operations – never sleeps, as it is a 24-hour function and there is frequently an event kicking off. When this happens, as it did on my first week, the entire team becomes focused on identifying the issue and co-ordinating action to deal with it. Watching the event develop and sitting in an event meeting certainly felt like a trial by fire – or should that be water? During the next few days I met the water and waste teams, shadowed them as they dealt with network incidents, and had a chat with my line manager about what to expect over the coming months. It was an interesting week to say the least.

Tom Earnshaw examining viewtool in the Kemble Court control hub

Two months on… It doesn’t feel like two months have passed by already. There is an astonishing amount to learn about Thames’ network, assets and business functions and I’ve been whisked off my feet to different training days and shadowing placements. From a course with network service technicians (NSTs) learning about valve types to high level meetings with senior finance staff to appreciate how cash flows in the business, every day brings a new experience and challenge.

NEXT MONTH: Another 2012 graduate shares their first experiences of life at Thames Water

Early Christmas present for Jeff Revenue metering group team leader Jeff Cooper has an extra £250 of shopping vouchers to spend this Christmas after winning the latest WaterWatchers quarterly prize draw. The Long Reach-based Thames Water stalwart, with 26 years service, plans to treat himself to an electrical gadget, although he has yet to decide exactly what it will be. Jeff, 54, said: “I regularly feed information to the WaterWatchers team and so it was fantastic to win the draw. It is great to generate revenue for the company and get rewarded for it. ” WaterWatchers is a team based in customer service in Swindon who investigates reports of unbilled water use. They pay £30 direct into your salary for every lead that produces a bill and this triggers an automatic entry into the quarterly prize draw to win £250 of high street vouchers – accepted at over 85 leading retailers including HMV and Halfords. The WaterWatchers team receive Jeff plays it cool after winning £250

around 100 leads a month and identified 927 households and 134 commercial accounts last year, resulting in new bills of more than £1m. This year’s target has been raised to £1.4m and so the team are calling on your help to feed the information. WaterWatchers rely entirely on employees and contractors tipping them off, using their experience and knowledge during their daily work to highlight properties they believe are not being billed. Submit a lead via the new form on the portal or text 07797 800 808. Alternatively, email waterwatchers@ thameswater.co.uk or call 0845 301 0200.


NEWS

Fighter on top of world Thames Water process manager ZAK ESPI-CASTILLO had warned us five years ago he was going to win Tae Kwon-Do’s main prize BY STUART WHITE

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artial arts ace Zak Espi-Castillo has fulfilled his fighting ambition after being crowned ITF Tae Kwon-Do World Cup champion. The Thames Water process manager for the Mogden catchment had said in the September 2007 Source how he was “determined to go all the way to the top” after winning the European title. And a knock-out kick to the head of German rival Fatih Demir in the heavyweight final just over five years later proved he is a man who stands by his word. “I had been gearing up towards this my whole career so to win the gold is a great feeling,” said Zak, 32, after celebrating October’s victory in Brighton. “I was the only British fighter in the finals so I had strong home support which really helped me through. “I had been feeling good going into the championships. I had been focusing my training on it for three months and had won a few tournaments in the build-up, so you could say it was all planned.” Zak, who has worked for Thames Water for six years, finished ahead of 70 of the world’s best fighters in the heavyweight division (over 80kgs). He worked through five qualifying rounds before beating Demir in an intense and bloody tworound final in front of thousands of spectators at the arena and a worldwide audience watching live online.

Zak Espi-Castillo celebrates his victory in Brighton

“I HAD BEEN GEARING UP TOWARDS THIS MY WHOLE CAREER SO TO WIN THE GOLD IS A GREAT FEELING” The Tae Kwon-Do Zak practices is a military martial art from North Korea. Although it is practiced by millions across the world, it’s only the Taekwondo from South Korea which is recognised as an Olympic sport and the reason Zak wasn’t competing at London 2012. “I enjoy it,” said the England black belt. “It helps with my job, which can be hectic, and keeps me fit. It takes my mind off things and allows me to unwind. I have been training since 12 and competing internationally since I was 17, so it is just normal to me now.” Unwinding consists of training before, at 5am in his home gym, and after work at Twickenham School of Tae Kwon-Do “at least four hours a a Pictures by Katarzyna Rozwadowsk

Zak Espi-Castillo kicks his way to World Cup gold

day, six days a week”. He admits it is like having a second full-time job. He had won the European Championships in 2006 in Romania but had previously missed out on two World Cup shots, held every other year, due to injury. “I think I’ve got about another three years left in me so will keep going – there are few competitions next year I’m already focusing on.”

Tae Kwon-Do explained Tae Kwon-Do is a Korean martial art. Due to the politics of the country, there are two versions: ITF (International Tae Kwon-Do Federation) from the north and the original form of the martial art; and WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) from the south and the form seen in this year’s Olympics. It combines combat techniques, selfdefence, sport, exercise and, in some cases, meditation and philosophy. Tae Kwon-Do training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and openhanded strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks. It is suitable for men and women of all ages, physical strength, weight and build.

www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 11


OPERATIONS TIM McMAHON, operations control manager On average we repair a massive 20,000 visible and sneaky leaks between December and April every year. That’s a phenomenal amount of activity, but we need to be prepared for events like the one we had in December 2010, where leakage nearly doubled and we completed 180% of our monthly activity as water temperature plummeted to 1.7 degrees celsius.

“OUR CUSTOMERS NEED TO BE AT THE HEART OF ALL OUR ACTIVITY THIS WINTER” To make sure we are ready for whatever the weather brings we have already ramped up plans with our contractors, capital delivery and our metering contractor Vennsys. The Vennsys work is particularly important as they will be used solely on our customer activity. This is good news for our customers and an exciting change to our winter event resource strategy. Our customers need to be at the heart of all our activity this winter. But we don’t just sit around waiting for a problem to occur. We are as proactive as we can be – monitoring water flow and pressure changes in the water mains, which we compare with historical data to detect potential issues. And some of our mains are fitted with state-of-the-art sensors, to predict problems before they happen. Although we can’t prevent all bursts, this does stop a number of smaller leaks escalating into large bursts. It’s vital that all of this activity is captured in a usable contingency plan which we have updated to ensure our management, stakeholder communications and resource plans are up to scratch. All of our plans hinge on our event level, triggered by the number of bursts we are predicting through our clever temperatureburst modelling tool. This varies depending on the temperature, but can reach over 150 visible and sneaky leak bursts a day that will equate to a L4 event – our highest event protocol.

PREPARING F

Winter weather can be severe, and can affect every part of our Here, Source caught up with four managers from different dep HEALTH AND SAFETY KEITH TAYLOR, health and safety manager We all need to do our bit to keep each other and the public safe this winter. This can mean having the right kit, or acting when we become aware of a leak which is likely to freeze. Of course health and safety isn’t just specific to winter months, but even small issues can escalate quicker in adverse conditions.

“EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE VIGILANT AND KEEP SAFE AND WARM IN COLD CONDITIONS”

Last winter we experienced 313 injury incidents – a seven per cent increase on normal months, of which 99 were trips and falls. The main focus over winter is to raise awareness of the risks everyone Leakage nearly doubled faces as a result of lower in December 2010 temperatures and darker days, and what we can all do to avoid them. Everyone needs to be vigilant and keep safe and

12 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

warm in cold conditions. There are simple things we should be considering all the time, such as telling someone what you are doing, where you are going and what time you are due back; giving your vehicle a winter check over; and making sure your site or working area is well lit and free from hazards It’s also so important that everyone has the right kit and equipment. Please check your personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure you have everything you need to keep warm – including winter gloves and liners for hard hats. If you’re out and about, you can order our ‘Bambi Boots’, which are special overshoes to stop you skidding on ice. Frozen leaks pose one of the biggest risks to our customers. We work with a company called GritIt, who tell us when the road temperature is going to drop to zero or below. We can then run a report in SAP that tells us where all our leaks are and GritIt will go out and grit them all for us. All our winter-related advice can be found on our Health and Safety Hub www. healthandsafety hub.co.uk


CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS BECKY JOHNSON, campaign communications manager As the temperature drops, pressure from customers, media and stakeholders on our response to dealing with leaks and bursts rises. This year we’ll be under more scrutiny than ever as the hosepipe ban put our own water efficiency in the spotlight. Last year we received thousands of winter-related contacts from customers. The majority related to internal frozen pipes, lack of understanding about who is responsible for which pipes and complaints about the time it takes to fix leaks. It’s our job to be as proactive as possible so customers don’t feel the need to call or complain.

“THE WEBSITE IS OUR ONE-STOPSHOP FOR CUSTOMERS NEEDING ANY WINTER INFORMATION”

FOR WINTER

r business. We need to ensure we are as prepared as possible. partments to understand how they are getting ready for winter CAPITAL DELIVERY ANDY BROWNING, London network assurance Keeping our customers and gangs safe is always our top priority. In the winter months, extra measures are needed to make sure we are prepared. The wetter weather means that we need to take extra precautions when working in green open spaces, such as preventing heavy plant sinking, or damaging customer property in waterlogged grounds by building temporary access roads to take heavy loads.

“THEY KEY IS BEING FLEXIBLE AND RESPONSIVE TO THE UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER” When temperatures start to plummet below zero things get trickier as concrete and tarmac can’t set, so we need to use alternative materials. As a result, gangs need to regularly check and maintain any temporary repairs to

make sure our working areas remain safe until we can do a full reinstatement. Over the winter we also support our colleagues in operations should there be a winter event. Many of our contractor gangs will be made available so we can quickly respond to any bursts – something which becomes especially urgent during sub-zero conditions. Activities like mains flushing, which can leave water on the roads and pavements, are avoided when the temperatures plummet. The key is being flexible and responsive to the unpredictable weather to protect our staff and customers.

We utilise the website as much as possible so it is our one-stop-shop for customers needing any information on preparing for winter and what to do if something goes wrong. This is our opportunity to give customers all the information they need at their fingertips. We also have a range of online ‘how to’ films which demonstrate simple and relatively cheap ways to protect their homes. As in previous years, we will continue to use a variety of media to reach our customers – particularly those who might not actively seek information themselves. It is important that we educate our customers so they understand why pipes burst and why we have to prioritise our workload, as well as encouraging them to report leaks. This year we have added the option for customers to report a leak online. This is in addition to #tweetaleak which we launched two years ago. This month we will also be sending a winter eNewletter to 500,000 customers, giving advice on preparing their home for winter. And we will again be looking to find interesting and newsworthy ways of conveying our winter messages in the media. Winter also means more blockages, so we’ll be ramping up our ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign activity – look out for our ‘Singing Sewermen’.

FREE FLU JAB

Free vouchers are available for all Thames Water employees. Be quick as they expire at the end of the year. See the portal for more details and to book.

www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 13


It has been massively rewarding for all involved

‘It ga a chan to imp

Chief executive MARTIN BAGGS reflects on the programme designed to help unemployed people find a job We need to look at as many routes and opportunities as we can to attract people into our business. We’ve got to stop following the same old traditional routes. If we don’t we are not only limiting our own opportunities, but also blocking out good candidates. As a result and as part of our commitment to the Prince’s Trust Seeing is Believing initiative the community investment team set-up the ‘Give someone a start’ programme. Literally, giving an unemployed individual a start.

“THIS PROVES THERE ARE SOME GREAT PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO JUST NEED A CHANCE TO SHOW WHAT THEY CAN DO” We opened it up across the company and asked if people could make time in their diaries to give someone experience of coming to work. Show them what’s it like to get up on a Monday morning and work in a big Blind graduate company. What it’s like to Frankie Tipton be part of a team. And we had a fantastic response, from operations to offices, from our people wanting to get involved. It was a new scheme, which included sessions on cv writing and interview practice, and we didn’t know exactly how it would go. And we have had a few hiccups. One of our candidates got a job somewhere else before he was due to start, which was a success, while another decided not to come, which wasn’t good. Overall though it was hugely successful and we filled 32 of the 40 places offered. And it has been massively rewarding for all involved. To have someone with you for just two weeks, a very short space of time, and to see the change has been absolutely superb. The comments I’ve had back from staff have all said “what a great thing to do”. Many said that if the vacancies were there we’d give them a job tomorrow. What a great reflection that is, and just proves there is fantastic talent out there. So where do we go next? The first one is always the hardest, getting the structure in place, the work books drawn up, and so next time should be easier. We are currently reviewing the whole programme thoroughly and once the results of that are clear we can take the next step. But will we do it again? Absolutely. 14 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

How did you find out about ‘Give someone a start’? I was registered with the Job Centre Plus in Reading and they told me about it. It sounded good and I was keen to try it out – I’m glad I did now. Had you been looking for a job for a long time? I left Reading College over a year ago and couldn’t find anything. It is a difficult time as employers want to take people on with experience. That is the challenge for young people as how can we gain experience without a job? So how did the programme help? It gave me a chance to impress, I guess. Show people what I could do.

Heather, left, next to Sarah-Jane dressed Waterwisely

CHARLOTTE MARSHALL, 20, from Tilehurst, was offered her first job since leaving full time education as a direct result of her two weeks on the ‘Give someone a start’ programme I went to meetings with directors, which was fascinating, and found the cv writing workshop really useful. It was just amazing to learn about Thames Water and everything the


GIVE SOMEONE A START

ave me nce press’

Receptionist Charlotte Marshall now works full time at Thames Water HQ

The community investment team’s CLARE SANDELS reflects on the programme

Calum Macfarlane, 24, spent two weeks with the corporate communications team and now fancies being a pres s officer. He took pictures of Reading RESCUE as part of his placement

company does – all the different departments. I also got to meet loads of new people and everyone was so nice. Including your mentor Rachael Hollings in HR. Yes, I felt really looked after and was lucky Rachael was such a big help. She made sure there was always something for me to do. Not your typical work experience then? You hear work experience and you fear you will be making the coffee and filing all day, but this was not like that. I was kept busy, it was varied – the best programme I have ever been on.

Candidates were inspired and energised

And now you are a full time receptionist at Clearwater Court on a permanent contract with MITIE. Yes, I was really happy to get the job. It is all down to Tracey (Gidman). She spotted my potential and arranged for me to have an interview just as I was

“HOW CAN YOUNG PEOPLE GAIN EXPERIENCE WITHOUT A JOB?” about to leave. I was then offered the job within a few hours and am really enjoying it. Tracey is a great receptionist and she has taught me everything. I’m really grateful to her and Thames Water for this opportunity.

On hearing Martin’s challenge to set up the programme my first reaction was “what a fantastic opportunity” but thought it would be tough to deliver in just a few weeks. But the team quickly pulled together and the response from volunteers across the business was fantastic. We set about researching partner organisations, putting together induction and training sessions, matching candidates with placements and making sure every one would be healthy and safe. Up to eight candidates joined us each week and it was my job to introduce them to the world of Thames Water and review their stay at the end of the fortnight. The best and worst bit about it all was saying farewell. Seeing the difference between day one and day 10 and hearing first hand how each of them said they had benefited was brilliant.

IT WAS MY JOB TO INTRODUCE THEM TO THE WORLD OF THAMES WATER From increased confidence, developing new skills to encouraging people to take up new challenges, candidates found new inspiration and were energised in their search for work. It wasn’t all one way though. Having just joined the community investment team I quickly learnt how my new colleagues ticked and our team spirit rocketed as we rose to the challenge. I too learnt new skills and gained confidence by leading the interview and presentation skills sessions. Most of all I came away inspired by the difference we can make just by giving someone a start.

Making a difference

Water efficiency and customer education analyst HEATHER AITKEN worked with Sarah-Jane Lacey The scheme seemed like a great opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone looking for work. Water efficiency is a really exciting part of the business and I knew that a placement would work well in our team. Sarah-Jane joined us for two weeks and I had the opportunity to design and supervise her placement. She’d never worked

in an office before but by giving her the opportunity to make phone calls, travel to meetings, do research and prepare presentations she grew in confidence. I really enjoyed taking part in the scheme and it was a confidence booster for me too. It’s great that the business can give these opportunities to people in our communities. www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 15


NEWS London network team are hot stuff The Capital delivery London network team got stuck into a delicious lunch of chilli con carne made from their very own chillis. It all started in the summer when document controller Gilly Bates suggested a chilli growing contest after being given the seeds as a gift. Joined by contractor MGJV at their Maple Lodge office, the competitors set to work nurturing the plants, putting them outside to gain extra sunshine, bringing them in to avoid white fly and feeding them plant food – as well as a touch of sabotage in the form of hiding each other’s watering cans. After a slow start caused by the disappointing summer weather, the final judging took place recently, with the cost and planners team taking the top prize. Their plant not only produced the most chillis but also the reddest and longest – at an impressive 13cm. Several team members put their hidden culinary talents to good use for the lunch, producing a variety of chilli dishes to share. The feast was washed down with orange juice and followed by chocolate brownies courtesy of assurance manager Andrew Browning. Gilly said: “It was a fantastic team bonding occasion – a really enjoyable ending to a competition which generated great energy and motivation.” Watch this space for their next escapade in the form of an Amaryllis growing sweepstake.

Abingdon upgrade to protect Thames Project supports Defra’s national ‘Love Your River’ campaign, which urges people and organisations to value their rivers BY CRAIG RANCE

T

he completed £3 million upgrade to Thames Water’s Abingdon sewage treatment works will boost the quality of water in the River Thames. Storm tank improvements have increased capacity to allow for future population growth of the Oxfordshire town and to ensure treated wastewater entering Britain’s most iconic river remains of an “exceptionally high quality”.

“YOU CAN SEE THE EFFECT OF HIGH QUALITY WATER, WITH BIRDS, PLANTS AND ANIMALS THRIVING ALONG STRETCHES WHERE THE WATER IS CLEAN” Refurbished sludge holding tanks have also been fitted with odour control to reduce the smell in the area. This particular stretch of the Thames has drawn people to its banks for more than 6,000 years, giving Abingdon a claim to the title of ‘Britain’s oldest continuously occupied town’. It has grown considerably from an iron-age

settlement into a thriving town and the sewage works currently serve more than 36,000 people. The river is home to a wide variety of wildlife, supporting great crested grebes, red kites and even the occasional osprey. Freshwater mussels have also been spotted, a type of mollusc found in the UK that can only survive in cool, clean water. Sustainability director Richard Aylard said: “The River Thames is hugely important for wildlife in our region and we want to keep the quality of the water exceptionally high. Treated wastewater makes up part of the flow so our work can help maintain a healthy river downstream “You can see the effect of high quality water, with birds, plants and animals thriving along stretches where the water is clean. Our works operate well, but increasing their capacity will mean they can continue to do so in future.” Councillor Tony De Vere added: “All of these improvements are real wins for Abingdon – the extra storm water capacity and cleaner operation together with better quality discharges into the Thames makes this a great move by Thames Water.”

Paint-job receives ‘great feeback’

Head of stakeholder engagement Victor Freeney is being presented with a plaque from the centre 16 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

A team from stakeholder engagement brightened up Wapping Women’s Centre as part of Thames Water’s ‘Time to Give’ programme. The 10-strong crew were tasked with painting the nursery, as well as some general sprucing up of the east London community facility. The centre’s Juliana Ali praised their efforts, saying it was a pleasure to host the volunteers. “We’ve already had great feedback of their work from clients and parents,” she said. Stakeholder engagement manager for streetworks Paresh Kavia added: “We really enjoyed the day. It is always very satisfying when making a worthy contribution which we know will support the excellent work and services the team provide to the local community.”


NEWS Help halt Ash disease spread

Clare Davies was surprised her paintings were such a success

Inspirational Mogden! Artist continues to capture £140 million sewage treatment works upgrade on canvas BY SONIA RANA

S

he burst onto the UK art scene last year by painting from her bedroom window an army of big yellow lorries and diggers doing work at a nearby sewage works. As the project has moved on so has Clare Davies’ artistic focus. With the diggers and lorries rolled away, the retired art teacher and a grandmother-of-two is now capturing massive orange cranes on her canvases.

“THE SITE IS NEVER STATIC WHICH IS WHY I AM SO INTERESTED IN IT” The towering metallic beasts are framed perfectly by her bedroom window, next to one of London’s biggest sewage works, Mogden in Isleworth, which is currently undergoing a £140m facelift. Clare said: “I have always taken inspiration

from the things that are prevalent in my life. I used to mainly paint cats but when Thames Water started the work on Mogden outside my bedroom window, as much as it was disruptive and I was annoyed at the start, I found it gave me an excitement that led me to paint. “The site is never static which is why I am so interested in it. I started painting the brilliantorange cranes against the blue sky. I would run up the stairs to capture them while the sun went down as this illuminated the area with an incredible yellow – it all looked very dramatic. I had to be quick, so I started using colour pencils instead of paint – which is unusual for me.” More recently, Clare has been painting the foxes against all the undergrowth. “I still see them playing and running along the embankment,” she said. “It reminds me that there’s still life out there despite the construction work, and that it will come back. “I was surprised the paintings became such a success following the exhibition – but people are interested in the story. They’re images which are familiar with everyone but aren’t normally depicted in art and people like the fact they’re different.” Mrs Davies’ recent work can be viewed at the Redlees studios in Isleworth. For more information visit www.redlees.org.

A disease that is threatening to devastate the UK’s Ash tree population has been spreading across the UK. Natural England and the forestry commission is taking the spread very seriously and asking Thames Water to be vigilant of this on all sites. Biodiversity strategy manager Claudia Innes said: “If you think this is affecting an Ash tree on a Thames Water site please either get in touch with me or download a free app called Ashtag on an android device or iPhone. “You can then photograph and submit the photo from your smartphone to a local forestry service.” For more information on the disease and for a spotter’s guide visit the portal.

New bills hot off the press Thames Water’s new bills, letters and notices will be much clearer and easier to understand – following direct input from customers. The new bills give customers a better explanation of how they are calculated, and contain simplified and improved information on ways to pay and get in touch. Swindon-based contract compliance advisor Sara Townsley is pictured here at the end of November holding a bill from the first print run at the Communisis mailhouse in Liverpool. The changes start with annual billing (unmetered) in February and will soon be followed by metered bills, statements and notices in April. Both staff and customers will also be able to view their bills online and be able to use an interactive tool on the Thames Water website to explain the new layout in more detail.

Sara Townsley is impressed www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 17


TWEET INTERVIEW

‘MY BOYS JUST WANT A HOLIDAY FOR CHRISTMAS’ JUAN RING was operating out of the Battersea hub as part of the celebrated Olympic Team Thames. So the 42-year-old field operations manager, running the central north team, has definitely earned Christmas at home with his young family

Picture by Stewart Turkington

What do you want for Christmas, Juan? Christmas is not about me, it’s about the kids. I’ve taken Christmas off and am looking forward to some family time at home. Good shout. Have they got a big list? They just want a summer holiday. Because of working during the Olympics the boys, who are eight and nine, and my wife missed out.

“IT WAS GREAT TO SEE US ALL WORK TOGETHER SO WELL FROM THE HUBS” Juan Ring at the Battersea hub during the London 2012 Olympics

Where are you going to take them? I’ve booked a fortnight in Cyprus next summer. That should do it. So were your sons proud of dad working at the Olympics? They thought I was at the stadium every day, but I never actually got to the Olympic Park or to any events. You didn’t see anything? Actually, we live in Woking and I did get to take my family to the cycling road race on one of my days off.

So how would you sum up the whole Olympic experience? Seeing how different parts of the business operate was really interesting. It was great to see us all work together so well from the hubs. Was it a bit of a comedown going back to the day job afterwards? No, I really enjoy what I do and it was great to be back with the team. I missed the day-to-day running of everything.

Joe Brandon’s Chelsea flag goes on all of his challenges

And I’m sure the team missed you equally. So what’s coming up for the new year? We were the first to go live with WAMI. They were big changes but we are making good progress and next year will be a fresh start. Again, this is where teamwork comes in. I’m very engaged with WAMI and, yes, we are a close team and all help each other out to overcome any issues.

Juan has worked for Thames Water since November 1997. He started as a contractor before moving into water regulations and then into his current role four years ago. He is based at Ashford Common water treatment works.

Money-spinning charity cycle Long-serving NST Joe Brandon raised £4,500 for charity by conquering the famous Lands End to John O’Groats cycle. The 46-year-old donated the cash, raised entirely by asking face-to-face and not via a web page, to Marie Curie Cancer Care recently after spinning 960 miles up the country. The Enfield-based father of two, who has worked for Thames Water for 26 years, thanked all those who sponsored him, including the GMB union’s generous donation of £1,500, for completing his life-long ambition.

18 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Thanks Juan, have a good Christmas. Cheers, you too.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said, “but it was pretty tough. Ten days in the saddle, averaging nearly 100 miles per day – and you soon realise how hilly our beautiful country is.” Joe had been training for seven months for the ride, but considers himself to be in reasonable shape having completed a number of other challenges – including scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. The highlights of the journey were crossing the Severn Bridge into Wales and the final group picture at John O’Groats “when I knew it was all over”.


READING RESCUE The team from finance and business services get set to leave HQ

Proud to sponsor and help town tidy The rain did not stop this clean-up crew filling nearly 100 bags of rubbish, says KAREN RUDKIN For the fifth year running Thames Water proudly sponsored Reading RESCUE – the bi-annual Rivers and Environmental Spaces tidy-up event. Car tyres, video recorders, a radio, satellite dish, bicycle wheels, an oil can and dozens of bottles were among the items found by the keen rubbish collectors this autumn.

“IT’S SURPRISING HOW MUCH LITTER YOU CAN FIND IN PUBLIC AREAS. IN A COUPLE OF HOURS, WE MANAGED TO CLEAN UP THREE PARKS AND A PATHWAY” BEN SEARLE-BARNES Thames Water provide volunteers each year to take part and the latest clean-up saw one of the largest groups we’ve ever had. Led by the finance graduate team, an impressive 77 employees from finance and

business services donned their waterproofs and litter pickers and headed out in the rain into woodlands and waterways to help ‘rescue Reading’ from a build-up of mess. The team split up into smaller groups so they could tackle more areas – our main sites were Christchurch Meadow, King’s Meadow, Hill’s Meadow, View Island and the Thames path. Over three hours the team accumulated an impressive haul of rubbish, filling just over 90 bags. Day two of RESCUE saw a more modest group of eight head over to Island Road and Fobney Lock to clean up in the sunshine. Between the eight of them there was a notable amount of rubbish collected and the road was visibly cleaner when we left. Good work everybody and we will back early next year. For more information visit www.readingrescue.org.uk. The rain cannot stop Andrew Beaumont and Teresa Lewis’ team

Catherine Ward leads a break-away group

THE RESCUERS “I enjoyed feeling like I was doing something to benefit the community and it was a good chance to do something different and network with colleagues” ANNE MURRAY “People should be prepared to give back to their communities and the feeling of achievement is well worth it. People can use their skill sets and make use of their strengths” JAMES WICKHAM “It was a good opportunity to get out of the office, meet other members of the department and most importantly give something back to the community” JON BIRULS “It is important for employees at all levels to take part to show we take this seriously – no-one is too important to do it” NICK BLABER “You get a lot out of it, working as a large team it is surprising how much can be achieved in a small amount of time” SPENCER MOORE www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 19


‘MORE PRODU AS WE ARE HEA

T

he money raised for our Thames 4 Bangladesh campaign continues to have a major impact on four of the south east Asian communities most in need. Although the wet weather did put a halt to some construction, we still managed to install new water facilities for 1,684 people and toilets for 856 people. The critical monsoon period from June to October is used each year to plan work with the community, teach new skills and provide hygiene education. During quarter two, we also established 22 committees

Having survived Monsoon season without any heavy flooding, BEC update on what is happening in our four Bangladeshi communitie who will oversee the day-today running of their water supplies and trained 24 mechanics to provide longterm technical support We’ve also gone to some extreme lengths to raise an extra £70,885 for the campaign – from rafting one mile along the River Thames in Olympics fancy dress to sky diving. The Thames 4 Bangladesh project also won Royal acclaim, receiving WaterAid’s coveted President’s Award signed by the Prince of Wales.

Thames 4 Bangladesh is a four-year project to raise £1 million to support four towns most in need – Fulbaria, Shakipur, Paikgacha and Kalaroa. With the help of our sponsors, we also aim to raise a further £1 million to support WaterAid’s work globally. We raised more than £70,885 between July and September to increase the total to £804,766 since launching in April 2011.

PROGRESS IN PAIKGACHA

The Rural Development Academy agreed to invest £615,096 to build a wate treatment plant for the system and community facilities for the poor. This qu

Saving medicine money

Water is a big problem for the Shibbati Community. Although they are situated by the river , the water is too salty to drink and is contaminated . Their homes also flood during monsoon season, mak ing the village inaccessible by road. Their loca l tube-well is contaminated with arsenic, and they are prone to illness with no proper toilets. When we first came to the town we formed committees to teach people about the hazards of unsanitary water, and have since cons tructed two rainwater harvesting stations and two latrines that service everyone in the village. Afsar, a businessman and resident of Shibbati, said: “Things are getting much better now. Although there is more room for change, we are saving money we would have spent on medicines and are more productive as we are healthier. This reall y contributes to better living.” 20 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk

Drinking dirty pond water

shon were Water and sanitation services in Aba broken and all were es latrin four r very poor. Thei only not unhygienic, and the tube-wells were n run ofte ld wou but contaminated by arsenic, dirty ing drink ity mun com the in dry – resulting r. wate pond r here as There is no available source of safe wate iron nic, arse by ated amin cont is the ground water to install was on opti only our lt resu a as – e and salin built for the rainwater harvesting systems. Five were four latrines The ds. ehol hous community and 10 for d. vate reno have also been er, said: “We Abdul Rouf Sheik, a community lead or to do may the d urge really needed help. We aterrainw The . lems prob our t something abou g spaces livin harvesting systems integrated into our months nine t abou for r allows us to store clean wate in a year.”


UCTIVE EALTHIER’

CKY JOHNSON provides a quarter two es

“We are now more health conscious than before. Because of the meetings, we now maintain basic hygiene standards such as washing hands”

“We are at peace as we do not have to walk for miles to get water. Time and energy is saved. I now tutor pre-school children and earn a small income” Housewife and teacher, Chaina Rani Bonik, aged 32

Sima Akhter, community health promoter, Hadipara village, Fulbaria

er network in the town of Paikgacha – no network currently exists. WaterAid will construct a uarter we’ve also completed a number of long-standing projects which started back in April 2011

‘Air is cleaner and fresh’

Illness and disease was rampant for the 383 people living here, due to a lack of community latrin es. People had no option but to defecate in open areas. Two latrine blocks have now been built to service 31 of the 80 households, and in the com ing months a rainwater harvesting tank will be com pleted for the entire community, and two more latrine bloc ks constructed. Rita Mondol, a housewife and mother of two, said: “Our environment has changed. The air is cleaner and does not smell. We do not have to spend hard earned money on medicines to treat diarrhoea or othe r illnesses. This is a major improvement.” Teresa Mondol, an elder in the commun ity, described how much the latrines had helped but said they still need access to safe water. “Right now we have a pond everybod y uses to bathe, wash utensils and clothes and even to cook,” she said. “Many of us have bad skin that itche s and makes living more difficult.”

Building long-lasting change

keen to get out to Many of us, particularly engineers, are work. ion truct Bangladesh and help with cons munities the help, com give to is y soph But WaterAid’s philo a lot of this work for training and support they need to do t is built in the future. wha themselves so they can maintain t important thing. mos the is ge Building long-lasting chan ct of each project The community is involved in every aspe and management ing, from the start – from planning to build s on the most sion deci the e mak to maintenance – and they tions. appropriate water and sanitation solu time and money (what ur, labo es ribut cont ity mun com Each the long-term and l initia people can afford) to both the ership and active own re ensu to is This running of a project. participation in the work. onsibility to collect Women are key, as it is often their resp t and public role rtan impo an ng havi water for the family. By r committee member, such as a health promoter or a wate e, and become more the women gain skills and confidenc ity. respected in the commun www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 21


The beaten semi-finalists in the Stade de France Witch team is this?

Skeletons and zombies

GHOULS

at Hallow

A monster turn-out of 31 Thames W frightening skills and good spirit at t

C

The finalists

auldron-hot Mogden spooked FC WAMI to win a bubbling final at the Halloween Fives at Goals in Woodley. A single ‘ghoul’ proved enough to scare off the WAMI machine in the showpiece match after a day of freaky action involving skeletons and pumpkins at the five-a-side football centre near Reading. Organiser Mike Phillips, who couldn’t play due to injury, was hailed for organising the tournament that raised £4,130 for WaterAid and was a real hoot.

“SUCCESS – WE HAD A GREAT DAY PLAYING FOOTBALL WHILE RAISING MONEY TO GIVE PEOPLE SAFE SANITATION IN BANGLADESH” Head of water production, Simon Earl, who ghosted-in late to dish out the prizes, said: “Mike has done a great job to bring this back together and it is fantastic to raise this kind of money for WaterAid. That is what this tournament is about, and that money will be really well received and appreciated.” Ashford process team manager Mike added: “It was a great success. I just want to say a big 22 | december 2012 www.thameswater.co.uk


ASK MARTIN

Which way will WAMI go?

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S GALORE

Croydon Sumos’ best performance was in the bar

ween Fives

Water teams showed some the WaterAid football tournament thank you to all the teams for raising so much money. In doing this not only have we all had a great day playing football but also raised money to give people safe sanitation in Bangladesh.” The vocal Croydon Sumos won the plate competition, Dynamo Carbon raised the most money, just over a grand, the wooden spoon award went to The Waterboys, who had a shocker, while The Bulls, from external affairs, won the best fancy dress prize for their Primark-inspired, spray-on tight, horrorshow pumpkin strip. The tournament, which certainly had a bit of bite at times but was mainly played in good spirit, proved a great success and is now expected to become an annual event for those brave enough to return.

“You’re s***, and you know you are…” was the chant from the back row as Mogden collected their trophy

In the new Bond film Skyfall, the chase scene through London culminates with a tube train crashing through what appears to be an abandoned service reservoir. Is it, and is it ours? KEITH HERBERT Field services manager, south London Do you know, when I saw the film I asked myself exactly the same question. But, as far as I know, Daniel Craig has not crashed onto one of our sites and I am confident that at least one of the individuals I have spoken to regarding this would have been more than shouting about it if he had. What do you want for Christmas this year, Martin? ALISON WILLIAMS Operations manager, Beckton That’s a good question. I think Christmas is horrible because everyone takes time off! We should spread it over the year. No, seriously, the best thing for me is getting home and spending time with the family. Taking some time out for a few days. It sounds a bit corny but that’s the truth. However, if you have any good suggestions for me to tell the girls then please let me know.

The Bulls certainly caught the eye

Send your questions to Source editor stuart.white@ thameswater.co.uk

www.thameswater.co.uk december 2012 | 23


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Source December 2012