The Consumer Council for Water (CC Water) has identified leakage, interruptions to supply and rising per capita consumption as the areas it is most concerned about in its annual Water water everywhere report, which pulls together information from companies on key service areas.
CCW reported the amount of time people suffered disruption to supply has risen by a fifth since 2016/17.
Consumers were left without water for an average of 13 minutes and 14 seconds in 2018/19. While that was a significant fall from the Beast from the East year, it was 22% higher than two years ago, and eight companies fell short of their targets.
Leakage fell 0.2% to 3.16 billion litres in 2018/19 but three water companies – Thames Water, Affinity Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy - failed to meet their leakage targets. CCW said it was “concerned the industry’s slow overall progress may dampen individuals’ own motivation to save water”. It added Bristol Water was the industry’s best performer, losing an average of 71 litres per property per day, while Thames Water reported the highest levels of leakage (177 litres per property per day).
Water consumption has been on the rise for the past four years with the average person using 143 litres a day in 2018/19, up from 141 litres in the previous 12 months.
There was much better news on sewer flooding; internal floods fell from 3,560 to 3,252 continuing a five year downward trend. There was also a further fall in external sewer floods, now down almost 40% over the past five years.
The watchdog concluded: “With the start of the next price review period just around the corner, and stretching targets being put in place, we hope to see companies rise to this challenge – actively engaging with their consumers, and innovating to improve their networks and future resilience.”