Leaks lose 80m gallons of water a day

ALMOST 80 million gallons of water is wasted every day in East Anglia through leakages, new figures reveal.Suffolk and Essex loses the equivalent of Alton Water reservoir, near Ipswich, every 25 days as a result of seeping drainpipes.

ALMOST 80 million gallons of water is wasted every day in East Anglia through leakages, new figures reveal.

Suffolk and Essex loses the equivalent of Alton Water reservoir, near Ipswich, every 25 days as a result of seeping drainpipes.

The news comes with the region in its driest period in 100 years, with rainfall 30% lower than normal levels.

Anglian Water, the region's main water supplier, loses 47.3m gallons per day through leaks.

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But the company insisted yesterday that it consistently met leakage targets set by water regulator Ofwat and had one of the lowest leak levels in the country.

Sara Rowland, from Anglian Water, said: “You cannot compare water companies because it doesn't work. You would expect us to leak more than someone like Essex and Suffolk.

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“We actually cover 20% of the nation geographically but we don't represent 20% of the total leakage. We have 36,000km of water mains and put 1.2billion gallons of water into supply every day.

“We have actually got one of the lowest leakage records in the UK, if not the world. We are getting about as low as we can physically get.

“That's vital in achieving the water we have, which is that there has not been a hosepipe ban since 1991.”

She added: “We have had 70% of normal water rainfall in the area but we are not anticipating any restrictions because all our reservoirs are 93% full.”

The region's other water companies - Essex and Suffolk, Tendring Hundred, and Cambridge - also lose gallons of water from leaks everyday, 14.7m, 1.1m and 16.3m respectively.

Alton Water reservoir in Suffolk currently has two thousand million gallons of water. This means the region loses water equivalent to the size of Alton Water every 25 days.

A spokeswoman for Essex and Suffolk Water said last night: “We have the lowest level for leakage in the country. Fourteen percent of our water is lost through leakage each year - that's 8% of the water in our own system and 6% of the supply pipes within customer premises.”

Andrew Smith, managing director of Tendring Hundred, said water companies in the east of England were “at the frontier” of water conservation, with the lowest leakage levels in the country.

No one from Cambridge Water was available for comment.

Ofwat confirmed yesterday none of the region's water companies had failed to meet rolling leakage targets.

“The south east is in a drought situation with lower than average rainfall and the region is facing one of the driest periods for nearly 100 years,” he said.

“If everybody works together to ensure that water is used wisely that's sensible.

“Leakage is not responsible for the drought or drought conditions in the south east. It's a lower than average rainfall. If leakage was responsible then you would expect to see more restrictions in water much earlier.”

The spokesman added that Anglian Water is taking steps to safeguard water supplies in line with drought plans which involved asking customers to use water wisely.

But Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk district councillor for the Green Party, said while water companies were recording record profits to shareholders, millions of gallons of water were being wasted through leaky pipes.

“They should be addressing the leaks. Equally, planners and councils should put prior requests that new homes conserve water. It's not just the water companies fault,” he said.

“Some of the reaction to the leaks from the water companies has been to just turn down the water pressure. But obviously they need to address these fundamental leaks. Everybody should have a water meter. It's certainly something we would have liked to have seen.

“If you are giving shareholders the bonuses when your system is still leaking like a sieve this needs to be addressed.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency added: “We expect water companies to increase leakage control activity to make sure leaks are found and fixed as quickly as possible.

“Water companies are investing a lot of money in fixing leakage and improving infrastructure. This is an on going process and water leakage is still too high in some places.”

East Anglia's total leakage per day is 79.4m gallons. The table below shows possible uses for this wasted water.

n 5.3m showers - each using 10-15 gallons of water.

n1.6m good sized baths, each holding 50 gallons of water.

n15.9m toilet flushes, each using five gallons of water to flush.

n1.4m washing machine cycles, each using 55 gallons of water.

Ten water saving tips

nNever leave a tap running

nUse a bowl to wash vegetables or to wash and rinse plates

nUse left over water to water your garden or house plants (providing it is not too soapy)

nDon't keep the tap running while cleaning your teeth - use a mug of water

nFit a flow regulator to your shower

nWhen you are buying a new toilet, consider a dual-flush cistern, which enables you to choose a short flush most of the time.

nChoose a slim line toilet rather than a full size toilet as they use a lot less water

nCheck the weather forecast before you start watering your plants - it might be going to rain soon.

nAvoid watering plants when it is windy, as this increases the evaporation rate

nKeep your gutters clear so you don't waste all the water that falls on your roof. Collect it all in your water butt.

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