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Ofwat orders water firms to 'up their game' on leaks

Anglia Water

Water watchdog Ofwat has said companies need to “up their game” on cutting leakages after firms published lukewarm water management manifestoes.

Ofwat said the water companies’ draft water management proposals for next year (known as WRMP19) needed to do more to address water leakage in the long term.

Snipe the water sniffer dog

Snipe the water sniffer dog

Around 3bn.l of water is lost in England per day through leaking infrastructure. Ofwat has told water firms to cut the amount of water lost to leakages by 15% in the next funding period, AMP7 (2020-2025).

Some companies have already put radical plans in place to tackle water leakages. United Utilities uses a Cocker Spaniel called Snipe (pictured) to sniff out underground leaks, while Anglian Water is the first UK firm to use

Although Ofwat said some proposals were promising, it warned the quality of some of the draft plans and supporting evidence fell short.

“We are disappointed that water companies’ draft water resources plans fell short of our expectations given the challenge to the sector for ambitious action to improve resilience,” said Ofwat senior director for Water 2020 David Black.

“There are examples of good practice in a number of plans, but more can be done to deliver a robust twin track approach and look harder across company boundaries to develop regional solutions and outcomes”

But water think tank Water UK defended the water companies, stressing that leakages have been reduced by a third since the mid-1990s.

A spokesperson for Water UK said: “Making sure that customers have access to safe, heathy water is at the heart of what the water industry does. Water companies have robust plans in place to deal with water shortages, and many have joined up on a regional basis to increase the sharing of resources and expertise.”

Water companies will publish separate plans on cutting leakages further in the autumn.

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