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  • by Karma Loveday

Thames and Affinity miss leak targets as Water UK reports sector improvement

Thames Water and Affinity Water missed their leakage targets last year. The data was made available by Water UK, which last week updated the site with 2018/19 figures.

Thames went 78 million litres over its 612 million litres a day target, while Affinity went 28 million litres over its target of 168 million litres a day.

All other companies with a defined target for the year met or achieved it. Water UK pointed out there had been a “sharp increase” in the number of companies meeting or beating their targets. Only seven did so in 2017/18. It added that the overall volume of water being leaked is down by 10 million litres per day.

Commenting on the figures, Water UK chief executive, Michael Roberts (pictured), said: “There has been substantial recovery from the leakage position last summer when we saw an unusually high level of pipe bursts. Water companies spent millions of pounds extra in the last year identifying more leaks and fixing them more quickly. But although the overall picture on leakage has improved compared with last year, we are still determined to do better as an industry, and it remains one of our highest priorities. Leakage is down by a third since the mid-90s, but we intend to go even further which is why we’re now putting in place the most ambitious leakage programme for 20 years.”

However, Robert Light, chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said of those who had not met their targets: “The failure of these companies risks undermining the wider industry’s efforts to encourage customers to play their part in saving and valuing water. It casts serious doubts over whether repeat offenders like Thames Water and Affinity Water will be able to achieve the more challenging future targets that the regulator Ofwat has set the whole industry and that customers want to see.”

A wide range of other data is also available on Discover Water. Water UK highlighted the following from the 2018/19 set: “Water quality has been maintained at a high standard, passing 99.95% of quality tests; supply interruptions have reduced sharply from 2017/18, down by an average of 36%; and water companies have reduced greenhouse gas emissions from their operations by a significant degree – down more than 15%. It’s also been revealed that the amount of water used per person in England and Wales has risen slightly, from 141 litres to 143 litres per day.”

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