In England, we take for granted a plentiful supply of water. Yet our high population density means the available water per person is actually less than in many Mediterranean countries.
Both Affinity Water & Souther Water who provide water in and out across our district under performed against their five-year leakage targets 2015 – 2020. They are now advocating a further 20% leakage reduction by 2025. We doubt they’ll hit this target.
As you may well have read recently there is a serious risk that parts of England will run out of water within 20 years.
Between 2015/16 and 2019/20, according to Affinity & Southern Water annual reports, they have lost one billion, three hundred and thirty seven mega litres of water per day through leakage. A mega litre = 1m litres or 219,969 UK Gallons.
To give this some understandable perspective, an Olympic swimming pool is 2.5 million litres, and Affinity Water alone were losing 180.90 megalitres a day (Ml/d) in 2015/16, that’s equivalent to 72 Olympic swimming pools lost each day or 26,280 in a year, or 128,830 over five years. That’s a lot of water.
Again to make it understandable, the average water consumption per person in England and Wales 2016/17 was 141 litres. The average household size is 2.4 person. So that’s an average of 338 litres a day per household. So Southern Water lost enough water to supply 1,346,153 households and Affinity Water 2,610,650 households and between them 3,956,803 households. Again that’s a lot of water.
For these failures to fix the leakage issues, the Chief Exec of Affinity Water, Pauline Walsh (pictured) in 2019/20 received £876,000 including pension related benefits. And the CEO of Southern Water Ian McAulay (pictured) received £1,172,200 including pension related benefits, in 2018/19.
Let’s remember though around 20% of the public water supply, equivalent to 3 billion litres, is lost to leakage every day, or 2 trillion litres every year, that a lot of Olympic sized swimming pools.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs urged water companies in 2016 to make tackling leakage a much higher priority but both Affinity & Southern Water missed their 2015 – 2020 targets and seen little progress in abating the leakage.
The recent Public Accounts Committee report on water leakage said:
“There is a serious risk that some parts of the country [England] will run out of water within the next 20 years … The responsible bodies – the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [Defra], the Environment Agency and Ofwat have collectively taken their eye off the ball and urgent action is now required if we are to have a reliable water supply in the years ahead.”
Affinity & Southern Water have promised that they’ll improve their water leakage rates. They well manage this, but we like the Public Accounts Committee suspect their ambitious 2020/25 targets to reduce their leakage rates, are unrealistic and have set themselves up to fail once again.
Their fine words in their annual reports really do not butter any parsnips; and we the customers will be picking up the tab for their continued failures.
The Shepwayvox Team
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