Third of businesses blame UK drought on leakage

Water companies have once again come under fire from businesses, which believe that failure to take adequate action on leakage has contributed to UK drought, an edie poll has revealed.

This follows a scathing attack on Thames Water by trade union GMB, which argued that action to close 25 water reservoirs in the south east by the supplier had left the region short of water storage facilities.

The Green Party also claimed that there was an urgent need for better “water management” by water companies – and called for leaks to be tackled.

Backing up this view, an edie poll which quizzed more than 300 readers on “who is to blame for drought hit Britain?” found that 38% of respondents felt that more action should have been taken on leakage.

However, 32% of respondents were slightly more forgiving, saying that the drought is an “unavoidable” situation, as water companies can’t control the weather. A further 30% also said that water users should take responsibility to conserve water.

Despite the deluge of April rain, Thames Water said that while it has brought some relief that it won’t be enough to end the drought as rivers and groundwater levels remain seriously low.

As a result, it is thought a hosepipe ban could remain in place over the summer.

Thames Water director of sustainability and external affairs Richard Aylard, said: “Last month’s downpours will wipe out the shortfall for the last couple of months, but not all the dry months before that. So although April’s rain has not got us out of jail, it has loosened the locks slightly.”

Green Party environment spokesperson Penny Kemp said that while climate change and population growth has increased demand on the UK’s water supplies that the “onus” to deal with leaks and introduce better water recycling schemes must fall on water companies.

However, edie reader Thirlwall Associates commented that mismanagement by water companies is “too black and white” as “water management is complex – not hard paving our gardens, using less water in our homes, changing farming practices and managing water abstraction all play their part”.

Carys Matthews

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