THE firm that owns Yorkshire Water has been named as the county's most socially responsible business.
Kelda Group has been ranked 43 in the national league compiled by Business in the Community.
Last year it was 86th.
Kelda is the highest-placed business in Yorkshire in the 2005 list.
The national list rates companies according to their contribution to society.
Kelda has given more than 650 water coolers to local primary schools during the past three years.
Yorkshire Water's corporate affairs manager, Richard Sears, said: "We are delighted to be among the top 50 companies in the UK for the way we conduct our day-to-day business.
"Our whole approach to corporate social responsibility is founded on the principle that the interests of the environment, customers and society at large are best served through the efficient, effective and proper operation of our business."
Yorkshire Water's Cool Schools campaign was launched in 2002, following concern among local health experts that dehydration was having a damaging effect on children's mental and physical wellbeing.
Since its launch, more than 650 mains-fed water coolers have been given to at least 350 primary schools, to provide pupils with ready access to a safe and plentiful supply of water throughout the school day.
Yorkshire Water has also developed teaching materials and a fun website. It also employs a performer who tours schools, giving dance performances to reinforce the campaign's key messages.
Almost 250,000 children are so far estimated to have benefited from Yorkshire Water's schemes.
Teachers report a significant improvement in the behaviour, physical and academic performance of their pupils.
Government-funded Business in the Community helps firms improve their image in the eyes of potential customers and investors in subjects including environmental performance and links with schools and community groups.