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Britain's demand for water drops

Water companies and their customers have saved enough water in the last year to supply a city the size of Bradford, a report has revealed.

Water regulator Ofwat's Security of Supply 2006-07 report published today showed that water companies achieved water savings of 65 million litres (M/l) a day in year to March 2007.

The savings were made in a year that saw one of the worst droughts in living memory and seven water companies in south-east England responded by restricting their customers' water use during the height of the drought.

The report also shows that leakage fell for the third consecutive year and the amount of water lost through leakage is now one-third lower than the 1994 peak.

Only Severn Trent failed to meet its leakage target and the company has given Ofwat a legally binding undertaking to fix this and meet future targets. Its target was to reduce leakage by 17 Ml/d. Leakage did fall by 9 Ml/d but the company missed its leakage target by 8Ml/d.

Following similar action against Thames Water last year, the company complied with its commitments in 2006-07 and beat its leakage target by 20 Ml/d.

Overall, the report shows that many companies are on course to deliver the improvements that they promised to make sure they have sufficient supplies to meet their customers' needs. But there are some concerns that a few companies are not hitting targets the regulator expected them to meet in the 2005-10 price review period.

"We will monitor those companies closely", said Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn. "And as we did with those missing leakage targets, we will take the action necessary to make sure they meet their customers' needs."

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