Skip to main content

Water Service: Standards

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many water leaks were reported to the Water Service in each of the last three years; and what the average length of time taken to repair water leaks was over the same period. (128114)

The Chief Executive of Water Service (Mrs. Katharine Bryan) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Mrs. Katharine Bryan, dated 28 March 2007:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about how many water leaks were reported to the Water Service in each of the last three years; and what the average length of time taken to repair water leaks was over the same period (128114). I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.

The number of water leaks reported to Water Service from 2003/04 to 2006/07 is set out below.

Number of leaks reported

2003-04

19,845

2004-05

10,658

2005-06

10,289

2006-07

10,176

1 The 2003-04 figure is an estimate as the information for that year was not captured in the same format as the other years.

Water Service logs all reported defects in the public water mains and monitors progress through a Work Management System. Repairs are undertaken by a combination of in-house resources and approved contractors and the times taken to complete repairs are monitored to ensure they comply with set targets. These range from 2 to 7 days, depending on the nature of the defect, and they are normally achieved. Exceptions arise as a result of restrictions imposed by the location and nature of the defect. Unfortunately, Water Service does not specifically record average timescales for repairing reported leaks and the information requested could only be extracted manually at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what targets are in place to cut the amount of water lost through leakage in Northern Ireland. (128136)

The Chief Executive of Water Service (Mrs. Katharine Bryan) has been asked to write to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Katharine Bryan, dated 28 March 2007:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about what targets are in place to cut the amount of water lost through leakage in Northern Ireland (128136). I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.

Leakage reduction in a network of approximately 26,500 kilometres of water mains and around 6 million joins in the network is a complex issue that requires significant planning and, to this end, Water Service has in place an active Leakage Reduction Action Plan containing phased annual reduction targets. The targets from 2002/03 are set out in the table below:

Megalitres per day

Target

Achieved

2002-03

291

291

2003-04

233

231

2004-05

205

203

2005-06

179

178

2006-07

169

On target

2007-08

157

1

2008-09

146

1

2009-10

136

1

1 Subject to board approval.

Since March 2003, Water Service has reduced leakage from 291 Megalitres per day (Ml/d) to 178 Megalitres per day in March 2006 and is on target to achieve 169 Ml/d by 31 March this year. We are currently undertaking a review of the “economic level of leakage”, however, it is expected that the existing level of 165 Ml/d will be achieved by March 2008. The economic level of leakage is defined as the point at which it would cost more to make further reductions than to produce the water from another source.

The targets from 2007/08 are provisional and subject to ratification by the Board of Northern Ireland Water.