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Water firms reveal five-year plans to tackle leaks

Water leaks

All water companies in England and Wales have revealed their business plans, with an onus on clamping down on leakage.

Ofwat will now assess each firm’s business plan for 2020 to 2025, after environment minister Michael Gove demanded they do more to tackle the UK’s leak problems.

Earlier this year it was revealed that around 3bn.l of water is lost to leaking infrastructure each day in England, piling pressure on a system which could see the country facing water shortages by 2050.

In its proposal, Thames Water has pledged to invest £11.7bn in upgrades, including 2.1 billion pounds to “boost resilience and reduce leakage” by 15%.

Thames Water was slapped with £120M worth of fines in relation to leakage failures last month, after Ofwat ruled that the water provider was shirking its legal responsibility to reduce leakage.

United Utilities has also committed to reducing its leakage by 15% over the five year period. Plans include delivering a major water resilience scheme with estimated construction costs of over £750m in AMP7 and AMP8 to be directly procured for customers in Manchester and the Pennines. 

While Severn Trent pledged to spend £6.6bn over the next five years.

Ofwat will now assess all of the business plans and will publish an initial assessment in January 2019. 

Ofwat strategy and planning director John Russell, said: “From now until January 2019, we’ll pore over each and every business plan and we’ll be looking for evidence that they are robust, ambitious and, crucially, that they have been shaped by customers.

All companies have had an opportunity to develop high-quality plans, but where plans aren’t sufficiently ambitious or stretching, we’ll step in to protect customers and the environment.” 

A National Infrastructure Commission spokesman added: “With as much as 20% of mains water lost to leakages every day, it is encouraging to see water companies setting out five-year plans to tackle this issue.

“However, the threat of hosepipe bans this summer showed the need to shore up water supplies, and so we want to see companies look even further ahead, with a clear target to halve leakages by 2050.

“That, combined with a new water transfer network to support areas suffering shortages, and measures to reduce demand, would greatly improve the resilience of our infrastructure for the future.”

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