The water company says the repair rates are due to a £20 million leak reduction programme it launched in April 2010 and will now be investing a further £20 million into the programme.

The company plans to replace one hundred kilometres of water mains over the coming year and fit more than 100,000 water metres.

Water metres with leak alarms will be installed by the company in homes across the South East. The alarms are activated when water runs continuously through the meter over 24 hours. This, Southern Water estimates will save up to five million litres of water a day.

The company’s priority is to find leaks before they become so severe that bursts occur. They use specialist acoustic equipment and traditional listening sticks to detect small leaks in the underground distribution system.

Southern Water leakage manager, Dave Williams, said: “This year our focus remains firmly on finding leaks before they become visible to our customers.

“Finding leaks across 13,600km of mains is not an easy task. We rely on the public calling our freephone leakline when they spot what could be a leak as these reports help us deal with these events promptly.

“Last year, 23,549 people called the leakline. Their help, coupled with Southern Water’s ongoing investment, means we repaired a huge number of leaks last year”.

Southern Water’s freephone leakline number is 0800 820999.

Alison Brown

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