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Water Industry

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many water companies have not yet reached the targets for leakage agreed at the Water Summit in 1997. [109091]

Following the Water Summit in 1997, Ofwat set each water company annual leakage targets to progressively reduce leakage to its economic level by 2003. This is defined as the level at which the costs to make further reductions in leakage are greater than the costs of supplying additional water from its sources. Ofwat published details of companies' performance against their targets for 2001–02 in the "Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water" report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Of the twenty-one companies set targets, two failed to progress in line with their annual target. Ofwat is monitoring the actions taken by these companies to recover their positions. Thames Water was subject to special measures rather than being set a volumetric target in 2001–02, due to its unsatisfactory performance in managing leakage. Ofwat is taking a number of increased measures to ensure that Thames Water brings its leakage under control, including the recent setting of leakage targets for North London, South London and the area outside London. Water company performance against targets for 2002–03 will be published in July this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Director General of OFWAT on changing the investment criteria for Thames Water to enable them to invest more in capital infrastructure to alleviate sewage flooding in rural areas. [109144]

The Department has been working closely with the Office of Water Services to look at ways of tackling the serious problem of sewer flooding. Following a consultation on flooding from sewers last year, OFWAT announced that they would consider proposals from sewerage undertakers for additional schemes to alleviate the most serious problems in the period up to 2005. Thames Water has been given approval for significant additional investment before 2005. All sewerage companies are currently developing proposals for investment to deal with sewer flooding during 2005–10.In the Secretary of State's initial guidance on the Periodic Review of water price limits for 2005–10, it was made clear that there should be closer attention to tackling sewer flooding in all areas. This should help to ensure that many more customers than at present benefit from sewer flooding schemes.