in England and Wales remained stable in 2003-04, according to new
figures published today by Ofwat.
* Total reported leakage for the industry was around 3,650Ml/d;
* The majority of companies met their economic leakage targets;
* Leakage at Thames Water has stabilised after three consecutive
years of rises, although it is still significantly higher than its
mandatory targets; and
* Leakage at Three Valleys and United Utilities was higher than their
targets for the second year running.
After reviewing the reports of Three Valleys and United Utilities,
including those of the independent reporters, Ofwat is reassured that
both companies will improve and meet their economic leakage targets.
Ofwat will require them to provide extra progress reports to allow
closer monitoring of their leakage control work.
Leakage has now stabilised at Thames. The company is going to carry
out even more repair work to reduce its leakage, with 60% more
repairs this year than last.
Ofwat is continuing to work with the company to ensure that Thames'
performance is brought into line with the rest of the industry. The
targets set for the company are designed to help it achieve this
objective as quickly as possible. Ofwat will respond to Thames' plans
for a big programme to replace water mains in its proposals for
future price limits, to be announced on 5 August 2004.
Philip Fletcher, director general of water services, said: 'I am
pleased that once again most companies are maintaining leakage at its
economic level. This means that the cost to both customers and the
environment is being minimised over the long term.
'I am disappointed that Thames has not been able to meet its leakage
target in 2003-04. But in light of the regular reports we are
receiving from the company I am satisfied that it is making progress
to improve its leakage position. The company has halted recent rises
in leakage and is stepping up its work to repair leaks. I expect to
see real reductions in its leakage levels in 2004-05.'
Following an investigation into Severn Trent's leakage estimate,
Ofwat is satisfied that the company now has a robust and audited set
of data and has started to reduce its leakage towards economic
1. The director general of water services is the economic regulator
of the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. He
exercises his powers in a way that he judges will allow them to carry
out their functions properly, and finance them.
2. Ml/d = Megalitres per day. A megalitre is the equivalent of one
million litres. It would take 2.5 megalitres of water to fill an
Olympic-sized swimming pool.
3. Economic levels of leakage - the level of leakage at which it
would cost more to make further reductions than to produce the water
from another source (this includes environmental and social costs).
4. A number of companies have reportedleakage figures for 2003-04
using Census 2001 population data for the first time. If the 2002-03
leakage figures were calculated using the same population data as for
2003-04 then leakage in those years would be estimated at a higher
level and reveal a stable trend over the two years. This affects
particularly the figures for Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water and
the total industry figure.
5. The action plan agreed with Thames Water is set out in appendix 4
of Ofwat's report, 'Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use
of water 2002-03, published last October (available here.
6. The reporters are independent professionals appointed by the
company with Ofwat's approval. They have a primary duty of care to
the director general of water services. They scrutinise the company's
business and report to the director general on the reliability and
accuracy of company information and any concerns they have.
7. A table of leakage data for 2003-04 by individual water company
is available here.