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Thames lost 894Ml of water per day last year. But it argues that it is making steady progress on leakage reduction with its programme of mains replacement.

Until recently Ofwat had only permitted Thames to charge customers for 'find-and- fix' leakage repairs. New leaks sprang up as fast as the old ones were patched. Thames now has permission to charge for the wholesale relaying of trunk mains, and aims to have completed 1,372km in the next four years. Leakage will be cut by 25% by 2010, and a further 8% by 2015.

Livingstone says that Thames could do better. But the company claims that reducing leakage in London to only 350Ml/day by 2010, would be equivalent to 130% of leakage reduction planned for the water industry as a whole.

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