Yorkshire Water has announced plans to reduce leakage by more than 40 per cent by 2025 as it looks to become one of the water industry’s “leaders”.

The company revealed its intentions yesterday (13 December) following the publication of Ofwat’s PR19 methodology, which challenged water companies to reduce leakage by 15 per cent.

To reach its “ambitious” target, Yorkshire Water said it will commit “significant and material investment” over the next two years.

Around 50 front-line leakage inspectors will be recruited, and the company will use detection technology and data analytics to tackle leakage.

The leakage reduction proposals are part of a multi-million package to transform the firm’s operational performance, which it revealed last month.

The plan will start with immediate effect and is also expected to “significantly shorten” supply interruptions, as well as reduce the number of pollution incidents.

Currently, Yorkshire Water deals with around 5,500 leaks on its network each year, which cost around £19,000 per day to investigate and repair.

The company said water resilience is its “number one” priority as demand for water is set to increase as the population in the region is predicted to rise to nearly six million by 2024, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Liz Barber, director of finance, regulation and markets at Yorkshire Water, said: “Our customers have been very clear to us that they really dislike the fact that so much water goes to waste.  When we explain the size and scale of the network we have, they do understand how tough it is to reduce leakage, but they still expect us to do better. By doing this, we’ll improve the security of everyone’s supply and also have much less impact on the environment.”

Traditionally, water leaks have been repaired by excavating and clamping damaged pipes. But Yorkshire Water said it is now trialling different types of “cutting-edge technology” to help stop millions of litres of water escaping from its network.

Last week, the company revealed it has been using space satellites to help identify underground water leaks from its pipe network in Halifax and Keighley.

In its PR19 methodology, Ofwat said it expects to see companies demonstrate innovation to tackle leakage.

“We expect companies to adopt ambitious leakage commitments, justified against our challenges: a 15 per cent reduction by 2025 and forward-looking upper quartile performance on leakage per property per day,” the regulator said.

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