Water Leakage in the United Kingdom

Water leakage is a problem in the UK with just over 3 billion litres of water leaking every year. To put that in perspective, this could be the equivalent of 14 million baths tubs full of water. Water companies, however, are given strict targets in which they must hit in order to reduce the amount of leakage each year.


Chairman of the Water governing body ‘OFWAT’, Jonson Cox stated in a lecture that one of the main priorities is ‘Getting a fair deal for customers, who have been hard-pressed by price increases at a time when incomes have stagnated or fallen.’ This is a fair comment and what the general public want to hear, but as a long term strategy is it feasible to keep the customers’ prices down with the need to spend so much on maintaining and improving assets and services?

‘Water companies currently invest £80 million a week in maintaining and improving assets and services.’ This is a dramatic figure and one that they use in order to promote how much they are trying to improve the Water Industry, but let’s turn this figure on its head… how bad is the infrastructure of the water industry if £80 million has to be spent a week on the maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is something that is overlooked by water companies in the UK as they are put off by the higher short term costs and increased labour time.

Key drivers for privatisation of the Water Industry were accountability, efficiency and effectiveness. Has anything changed since the Water Industry was privatised in 1989?

It is common practice that companies supplying to the Water Industry in the UK are purchasing products for their pipelines that meet the minimum required specifications at the lowest cost. This could be described as short-term thinking, as the quality and lifespan of these products is unacceptable.

The only way to reduce the £80 million per week maintenance bill that the UK water industry is currently carrying is to invest in higher quality, durable, innovative products that really do make a difference to the quality of our infrastructure. OFWAT recognise this in their key indicators surrounding innovation and improvements in infrastructure.

With this in mind, products such as Singer Valve’s pressure reducing valves with Single Rolling Diaphragm technology can be expected to be installed more readily in pipework infrastructure across the UK. The Single Rolling Diaphragm eliminates the need for a low-flow bypass valve in pipeline areas dealing with low demand. Instead the valve ensures smooth and precise control down to virtually zero flow, avoiding seat chatter, whilst actively reducing water leakage and loss, click here for more information.

Do you think the Water Industry are doing enough to reduce the amount of water leakage?

Or alternatively, do you feel as though more can be done towards water leakage and that a better long term structure should be put into place?


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