No improvement in leakage from water mains

Ofwat has reported that there has been no overall improvement in the amount of water lost from water companies' pipes through leakage in 2003/04.1 The total industry leakage rate was slightly below target - 3,650 megalitres per day compared to Ofwat's target of 3,485 Ml/d (see table). Leakage also increased slightly over the previous year.

The figures are not good news and suggest the industry is struggling to keep a grip on leaks.

Total leakage has been on a rising trend, although the situation is complicated as companies have revised their estimates of past leakage in the light of better information.

The number of major companies failing to meet targets rose from three to four.

Thames Water has been battling to bring down leakage in London in recent years and is still well below its targets. Ofwat expressed "disappointment" but said it believed the company was "making progress" and that it expected to see reductions next year.

Severn Trent missed its targets last year when it realised its estimates of unmeasured consumption were inflated. To balance its supply/demand figures it had to increase its leakage estimates. This year the company failed again to meet its leakage target.

United Utilities has also missed its target leakage for the last two years, and Anglian Water failed to meet its target this year.

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