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Local Hose Pipe Ban Expected Soon While a Quarter of Water Supplied is Lost to Leaks

Published on: 10 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 10 Aug, 2022

Hose pipe ban expected in the “coming weeks” in all areas served by Thames Water.

By Martin Giles

A hose pipe ban is expected to be introduced in Guildford and all areas served by Thames Water in the “coming weeks.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “Given the long-term forecast of dry weather and another forecast of very hot temperatures coming this week we are planning to announce a temporary use ban in the coming weeks.

“We have written to the Environment Agency to update them on our approach and informed Ofwat.

“The timing is not confirmed due to a number of operational and legal procedural requirements but we will be updating our customers, partners, regulators and stakeholders at the earliest time to ensure a coordinated approach.

“In the meantime, we continue to urge our customers to only use what they need for their essential use.”

The request to conserve water is made despite the company losing almost a quarter, 24 per cent, of the water from its pipe network before it reached customers.

Taken from the Thames Water website.

But there appears to be no intention to stop the payment of bonuses to senior managers or dividends to shareholders until the leakage is reduced to levels customers might accept as reasonable.  According to the Daily Express in 2020/21: “Thames Water, which is threatening to bring in a hosepipe ban, paid around £5 million in bonuses.”

The Dragon asked Thames Water: “Do you understand customers’ frustration that they are asked to conserve water, and are now facing a hose pipe ban, when almost a quarter of the water supplied by Thames Water is wasted because of leaks?

“How can bonuses to senior managers or dividends to shareholders be justified with such a poor level of performance?”

A Thames Water spokesperson responded: “We know it’s not acceptable to be losing so much precious water but we’re doing something about it and our shareholders have recently approved an additional £2 billion into the business so we can improve outcomes for customers, leakage and river health.

“It’s not going to be quick, but we’re making progress and we’ve met our target to reduce leakage for the last three years, reducing the amount of water lost by 10.2 per cent since 2019/20. Our aim is to reduce our leakage by 20.4 per cent between 2020 and 2025 and in 2021/22 we fixed over 60,000 leaks, that’s almost 1,200 on average every week.”

In October 2021 while protesting about sewage discharges, borough councillor Tom Hunt (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) asked: “I wonder how many people would choose Thames Water as their water supplier.”

The announcement of the extra £2 million was to improve the public image of Thames Water Britain’s largest water company which serves roughly a quarter of Britain’s population. The company has seen its reputation battered not only by the scale of the water leakage but the revelations about its seemingly cavalier approach to pollution and indifferent treatment of customers.

The spokesperson continued: “We have a dedicated team of analysts and scientists monitoring our water resource levels at all times. The team takes into consideration a number of factors including Met office forecasts and reservoir storage levels.

“When considering implementing a Temporary Use Ban (TUB) we have to balance the impact on our customers and the environment.  To inform our decision making we work to our drought plan.

“We have been preparing for summer since the winter, making good use of abstractions earlier in the year to fill our reservoirs in London. We accelerated maintenance work on the QE2 reservoir in London which has provided more storage over the past dry months.

“We then launched the first phase of our media campaign urging customers to use water efficiently, this was followed up in July with a second phase providing customers with lots of water-saving tips.

“We have recently started supporting our supplies in other ways, including drawing water from our North London Aquifer Recharge System (NLARS) which means we need to take less water from our reservoirs. Our aim is always to ensure that we will have enough water to supply our customers, regardless of the weather.

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test One Response to Local Hose Pipe Ban Expected Soon While a Quarter of Water Supplied is Lost to Leaks

  1. David Roberts Reply

    August 14, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    Water in at least half the borough is supplied by Affinity (formerly Seven Valleys) Water, not Thames Water, who only process our wastewater: see https://www.thameswater.co.uk/developers/larger-scale-developments/planning-your-development/where-our-pipes-are.

    As of 14 August, there has been no announcement from Affinity about any new water restrictions.

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