Fixing supply pipes could reduce leakage by 30%

Fixing leaks in supply pipes could reduce overall leakage by 30%, according to the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

CIWEM is calling for water companies to adopt customer-owned water supply pipes as this is where 30% of leakages arise from, because many customers are unaware of their responsibility to keep the supply pipe in good condition, it claims.

Currently water companies own the water mains and are usually responsible for the pipes between the mains and the boundary of the customer’s property. However, the section of pipe, known as the water supply pipe, taking water from the company’s stop-tap into the property belongs to the householder or property owner.

An initial cost benefit analysis conducted by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) found that the move would cost an additional £4 per property a year to consumer water bills. CIWEM claims however, that this cost would be offset by the fact that the property owner would no longer need to pay for any repairs, maintenance or insurance for their water supply pipe which they estimate at £35 per property per year.

CIWEM’s executive director, Nick Reeves OBE, says:

“Transferring the ownership of water supply pipes from customers to the water companies, including the related cost, needs to be part of a much needed holistic approach to improved leakage reduction and lead pipe replacement.

“This change will make it easier for water companies to intervene and fix leaks. It will also provide them with the valuable data that is essential for more robust and effective leakage management.”

Conor McGlone

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