London Environment Committee to question Thames Water on management plans

The London Assembly's Environment Committee is to discuss longer-term water management plans with Thames Water, including action being taken to improve water efficiency in London's homes and businesses.

Being held on October 24, the meeting will look at how to reduce the loss of treated water from leaking pipes across the distribution network and to manage rainwater drainage, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

In light of Thames Water’s announcement yesterday to increase bills for 2014/15 by about £29, the Committee will challenge the water utility company on the planned bill increase and what it plans to do following Ofwat’s draft decision to block the increase.

Thames Water says the reason behind the proposal is that it has faced extra costs of £291m, due to certain items costing more than the amount estimated, including higher Environment Agency charges.

However, Ofwat has said the evidence does not justify this level of increase.

Last year, an Assembly report revealed around a quarter of London’s treated drinking water is lost through leakage, despite improvements by water companies.

In addition, uncertainties about future levels of rainfall, an increasing population and the effects of climate change are placing more pressure on water supplies.

Chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, Murad Qureshi AM, said: “Many of us take it for granted that when we turn on the tap, or flush the loo, water will flow, but treating and supplying water to thousands of Londoners is a major challenge, with financial and environmental costs.

“We want to hear from Thames Water about how it is managing London’s water supply and what it is doing to try to keep costs down for the customers in these tough economic times.”

Leigh Stringer

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