Eight contractors have won contracts together worth nearly £750m from United Utilities, the owner of North West Water.
The three three-year framework contracts are for new-build, refurbishment, and asset renewal projects across the country.

The deals are further evidence of the growth in the infrastructure market, which has been led to a number of contractors entering the sector.

United Utilities chief executive John Roberts said the agreements meant the firm's spending would be more predictable.

The biggest contract, worth more than £250m, was won by a joint venture between Interserve, Kier and J Murphy and Sons. It covers work throughout west Lancashire and north Manchester.

Interserve chairman Mike Bottjer said: "We are delighted to have been chosen by United Utilities to play such a vital role in this exciting project."

He added that the management team would be located near United Utilities' base at Warrington and employ local workers where possible.

A joint venture formed by Morgan Sindall's utilities arm Morgan Est, Barhale Construction and Harbour & General Works won the second deal. This involves work in Cumbria and the Ribble Valley.

This deal is worth up to £250m and is the first large infrastructure deal to be won by Morgan Sindall since it bought utilities company Pipeline Constructors last year.

The third contract was won by a joint venture between Costain and Galliford Try, and will be worth more than £215m over the three years. It covers projects in Cheshire and south Manchester.