Anglian Water is paying a £92million dividend to its shareowners, despite recently hiking customers' bills and growing anger over river pollution.

The giant water company is paying out to its shareholders – including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – based on the profits it made in 2021, as customers face a £22-a-year bill increase.

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said shareholders had invested £1.1billion into the business, and they had not received a dividend payment since 2017.

Bosses also say the dividends taken by the shareholders since 2010 were below the level expected by Ofwat – the water services regulator.

The spokeswoman added: "Our shareholders are the very definition of patient capital as they represent millions of mainly public sector pension holders.

"Over the last five years, they have shared our vision of investing today to ensure the long-term resilience of our region. Instead of taking a dividend, they have reinvested returns, and wholeheartedly endorsed the changes we made to enshrine environmental and social purpose at the heart of the business when we took the ground-breaking step of changing our Articles of Association.

"We are pleased to now be in a position to repay their faith in us by sharing our financial returns with them, as the third element in our triple bottom line: customers and communities, environment and shareholders.”

Last week, the company announced a £65m package of support for customers during the cost-of-living crisis.

This month Anglian Water was fined £300,000 after sewage leaking into the River Wid in Essex killed 5,000 fish in 2016. The Environment Agency's investigation found the pumps that were to blame for the leak were almost 40 years old.

And earlier this year more than 100 people gathered in Woodbridge to protest about pollution in the River Deben.

In May, 200 people also marched through Bungay, calling on politicians to clean up the River Waveney as part of a 'Procession against Poo'.