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Minister Double: Water companies must do more to reduce leakage

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Faucet with a water drop / Water consumption concept

There has been positive pick-up of Water Minister Steve Double’s calls for greater investment from water companies to address leakage, at a time when water resources are in the spotlight as parts of the country move into drought. Writing for the Mail on Sunday, Minister Double reaffirmed that the Government will not hesitate to act if leaks are not addressed, with reports that somewhere between 15-20% is lost annually through leakage.

His comments were picked up by The Daily Express and The Sun, who highlighted his calls for water companies to prioritise customers and not shareholder returns.

It comes as Environment Secretary George Eustice, writing for The Daily Telegraph, also called on water companies to reduce leakage, highlighting that they have a duty to ensure supplies. He added that we will continue to challenge those with a poor record on leakage and work to ensure new infrastructure such as reservoirs and water transfers are constructed.

Water Minister Steve Double said:

The public and government rightly expect more from our water companies and we've been clear they need to fix leaks.

Ofwat has put in place clear financial consequences for companies that underperform on leakage. If we don't see the changes we expect, we won't hesitate to take further action.

The Strategic Policy Statement for Ofwat sets out the Government’s priorities for water companies which includes reducing leakage across the water network.

Water companies have already committed to delivering a 50% reduction in leakage from 2017 to 2018 levels by 2050 and we expect Ofwat to challenge companies to deliver this and monitor progress.

In addition to its own sector targets, water companies will need to contribute to delivery of Defra’s proposed Water Demand Target under the Environment Act 2021 to reduce the use of public water supply per person in England by 20% by 2037. This includes a 31.3% reduction in leakage by 2037 on the pathway to meet their 50% reduction in leakage commitment by 2050.

The government will continue to take action to build the resilience of our water environment and the sectors that depend on it, however we must all play our part not to waste water and treat it as the precious resource it is.

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  1. Comment by John W. Baxter posted on

    It is ironic that the biggest wasters of such a precious resource as water are the water companies, who have the audacity to TELL customers to restrict the usage of water!......only in our society could this be allowed to happen.
    We have government that has made a dog s breakfast of energy supply,so why not apply this wisdom to water and see what is the outcome!.
    It is high time the customer and his/her needs were met and the swallowing of water company blather and its lobbyers’ blather were sent into the North Sea via the first combined sewer outfall available, though that may be a long time coming.

  2. Comment by Mick D Walters posted on

    I am an ex tory, totally nuetral now. The water companies have outstayed their welcome, renationalise now.

  3. Comment by John W. Baxter posted on

    Is it not about time that water consumers had a say in what happens next.To say leakage will be reduced by 50% from 2017/18 leakage levels means that 25% of leakage levels of 2017/18 will still be tolerated by water companies and their shareholders......meaning the consumer will have to continue to foot the bill for the leakage to 2050. Who knows whether water companies will be in business in 2050.
    My proposal is that water companies should pay the tariff rate for leaked water as would the consumer should his system be leaky, and the tariff paid should be the consumer dividend in the form of lower water tariffs.....yes a consumer dividend to start paying back for all the heel dragging on leakage detection and reparation.......we can only wish it is not hydrogen nor oil!.