Work is taking place to further improve drinking water quality.
Northumbrian Water is investing up to £6million developing an innovative approach to improve water quality.
The investment follows a two-year period in which reports of water discolouration dropped 35 per cent.
The improvements have been driven by research that has given a new insight into the causes of discolouration in water networks.
Northumbrian Water and other industry partners took part in groundbreaking research, with a team from Sheffield University, leading to new ways of working and a greater understanding of the potential causes of discoloured water in the system.
Discolouration is predominantly caused by build-up of oxides inside the water pipes with Northumbrian Water making regular adjustments to the flow of water, reducing the build-up of these oxides. The £6million is to be spent on enabling the introduction of automated pipeline management to 350km of water main by 2018.
Chief executive Heidi Mottram said: “The research has delivered a new understanding of the root causes of discolouration that will revolutionise industry procedures.”
“Now we can build upon the results of the research, field tests and our own work to go on and make our customers’ experience even better, whilst also significantly reducing costs in the long-term.
“We are on target to beat our 2020 discolouration target by 20 per cent and two years early, delivering best ever performance in a way that is both sustainable and cost-effective.
“This is fantastic for our customers and also for our team, who are to be applauded for being ahead of the game in adopting these innovations.
“Through the introduction of an industry-leading set of systems and procedures, we have already reduced reports from customers regarding water discolouration to a record low and we have been able to achieve all internal and external targets.
“By adopting a complete source to tap policy, with structured forward planning, we believe we can not only adapt this way of working to boost other key business areas, such as interruptions to supply and leakage, but also provide a template for other companies to make similar improvements to their systems.”