Director of Hydro Nation and External Relations
Katherine Russell is the Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs for the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS). She is the key strategic adviser to the Chief Executive and leads WICS’ work on the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Initiative, which aims to establish Scotland as an international leader in water management and governance. She is also responsible for finance, human resources, customer consultation and media relations.
Katherine’s early career was in customer facing roles in the financial services sector. She joined the staff of the Scottish Water and Sewerage Customers Council in 1996, which became the Water Industry Commissioner’s Office in 1999.
Since 1999, alongside WICS’ Chief Executive Alan Sutherland, Katherine was key to the development of a regulatory framework which has seen Scottish Water improve services and substantially reduce its costs. She has also presided over the successful liberalisation of the non-household retail water market in Scotland – a world first and a model which is now being replicated in England. Competition in Scotland has facilitated new and improved services, further reduced costs and increased emphasis on efficient water use. For example, Business Stream, Scottish Water’s retail subsidiary, estimated that since competition was introduced in 2008 it has saved customers over £13million, saved 7.4 billion litres and reduced CO2 emissions by 8,025 tonnes.
In June 2015, Katherine was appointed as a Vice President of the Network of European Water Sector Regulators (WAREG), where she will help spearhead WAREG’s development from a start-up body to a formally constituted, resourced and operated organisation. Specifically, she will be working on the development of a professional secretariat, a set of specific objectives for WAREG, evaluating the organisation’s corporate status and getting the best option established, while also addressing broader funding issues.