Leakage

Ambitious regulatory and company targets mean leakage will be a key focus over the 2020-25 period and beyond. Find out what water firms are doing to tackle the problem.

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Water companies from across the UK as well as supply partners, NGOs and academic groups have been awarded funding for 11 projects from the Ofwat Innovation Fund to tackle shared problems faced by the sector. See the full list as well as the thoughts of Ofwat's John Russell.
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An environmental group has threatened legal action against environment minister Rebecca Pow’s department for not dealing comprehensively with combined sewer overflows.
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Installing one million smart water meters each year could cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 0.5 per cent over the next 15 years. The impact of smart water meters on reducing the UK’s carbon emissions has been calculated in a new report by Waterwise and Arqiva that suggests a nationwide rollout would save one billion litres of water daily.
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United Utilities has said it is on track for its lowest leakage rates ever in the first year of AMP7 and has more than halved its supply interruptions during the past year. In a trading update published ahead of its full year results to 31 March, the company also confirmed it has recorded no serious pollution incidents for a second year.
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Scottish Water’s decarbonisation strategy works back from the net-zero target of 2045 to establish what needs to be achieved and when – as well as who will pay. As part of our Countdown to COP series, chief executive Douglas Millican talks to Ruth Williams about taking a long-term view and how the company sought public backing for its plans.
Interviews
Anglian has set out how it will spend £630 million from 2021/22 across its region with a focus on leakage, strategic infrastructure projects and protecting waterways including chalk streams.
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Latest in Leakage

Northumbrian Water has joined the UN-backed Race to Zero global campaign as it announced plans to achieve net zero carbon by 2027 - three years earlier than the industry-wide commitment. However, the target excludes process emissions, which make up half of the company's total greenhouse gases. 
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The public remain largely unaware of the responsibilities water companies and other stakeholders have to conserve the natural world, or of the work the sector undertakes. Most agreed environmental concerns should be more important than lowering bills or making services accessible.
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The judging panel for the main competition within Ofwat's innovation fund has been named with eight people chosen from industry, academia, R&D and beyond the water sector. The competition is designed to encourage innovative ideas, collaboration and sharing of risk to develop projects.
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The Environment Agency has proposed allowing water companies up to 25 years to deliver on environmental programmes and extending the timeframe for the Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP) from five to ten years.
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A trial by Yorkshire, Siemens and Artesia has trained artificial intelligence to learn to distinguish the sound of a leak on Yorkshire's network from other background noises. This 60 per cent improvement lets the company focus its activities on attending and repairing true leaks.
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Ofwat’s final decision on extra investment in green recovery schemes on top of the PR19 packages has seen the total fall from £850 million in May’s draft announcement to £793 million today. This is as a result of Thames Water – one of the five companies to submit green recovery plans – reducing the size of its smart metering programme after the regulator cast doubt on its deliverability.
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Water UK's director of policy Stuart Colville tells Utility Week the government needs to match the water sector's ambition to meet demand management goals and to improve sewerage systems
Analysis
SES Water has reported missing its target to lower per capita consumption (PCC) due to “soaring” use in lockdown. However, leakage targets were met and efforts to increase communications with its vulnerable billpayers led to 90 per cent feeling supported.
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The highly anticipated news that Defra was introducing mandatory water efficiency labels was universally welcomed by the water industry, but what will it actually achieve? Utility Week speaks to the sector about the decision not to be equally ambitious on building regulations.
Analysis
CCW peered into people's kitchen sinks to reveal how families actually used water over a week compared to how they thought they used it. The participants were shocked to see how much water they wasted and evidence of pouring fats down the drains.
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