UK’s water leakage more than consumed by business users


waterWhile businesses are reducing water wastage to control operating costs, figures released by a consumer watchdog show that leakage in the public supply is on the rise and remains at least as much as that consumed by business users.

Water leakage across supplier network in England and Wales has risen for the two consecutive years, with water companies leaking 3,113 megalitres of water per day on average in financial year 2013/14. That’s 3,110,000,000 litres of water per day, or 1,135,150,000,000 litres per year.

Non-domestic water use in England and Wales sits somewhere around 20% of public supply. Leakage by water companies now represents around 22% of public supply, according to the Consumer Council for Water.

CCWater’s latest report, based on data supplied by water companies, show that leakage levels remain lower than the high of 2010/11 but are again heading north.

The watchdog said leakage was one of its most pressing concerns, and CEO Tony Smith said water companies “need to deliver – and we’ll be watching closely to ensure they do”.

In fairness, water firms have made steady progress on reducing leakage over the last two decades, and the regulated businesses have a duty to weigh the cost of cutting leakage against the prices they are allowed to charge customers.

Research commissioned in 2013 by CCWater showed that while the majority (69%) of domestic consumers thought water companies should make leakage reduction a priority, most were not willing to pay more for leakage to be reduced.

Whether businesses would be prepared to add to their bottom lines in return for a more efficient water distribution network is a moot point.

With the advent of water competition in April 2017, however, business users may be able to find supply cost savings in tandem with water efficiency efforts. It is also likely that new business water suppliers will compete to cross-sell  equipment and services to customers, which could radically alter the make-up of the water efficiency services market.

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  1. I echo your comments companies are wasting 30% plus these are big numbers some metered water leaks we detect and repair have be going on for years as an example we recently found and fixed a water leak leaking 30,000 Cubic meters per year costing the business £78,000 per year (£230,000) since the business was acquired the business only reacted when they were reviewing overheads and a vast many companies are not proactive enough in that department.

    One area of concern for me is over the next 5/10 years if there is a national concerted effort to reduce water and waste water volumes and costs water company revenues will drop by at least 30% what effect will that have on water companies businesses as investors will start to see diminished returns so with this in mind why should water companies seek to assist their business customers to reduce water and waste water costs and reduce their own income!

    No incentive there methinks other than them being under some strange illusion that they need to provide this addition service to retain customers!


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