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WATER LEAKAGE STABLE IN ENGLAND AND WALES

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The amount of water lost from the supply networks of water companies ...
The amount of water lost from the supply networks of water companies

in England and Wales remained stable in 2003-04, according to new

figures published today by Ofwat.

Leakage data from the water companies shows that:

* 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

levels.

Notes:

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.

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