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Leaks from Water Mains

Volume 699: debated on Thursday 22 July 2021

What discussions he has had with Ofwat and representatives of utility companies on reducing leaks from water mains. (903142)

Reducing leakage is an essential part of our ambition to improve water efficiency. Ofwat has set companies a performance commitment to reduce leakage by 16% by 2025. The water companies have further committed to deliver a 50% reduction by 2050, which could save up to 1,400 megalitres of water per day. I will require water companies to develop their water resource management plans on this basis.

The problem we have in Bromley is that 95% of the mains are cast iron, according to Thames Water, and are therefore much, much more liable to breaking, rather than the average in London of 50% to 60%. It means we have repeated leaks, often in the same place, patched up time and time again. We had 133 in one postcode area in four months, in one instance. This is actually causing real issues for my constituents. Can we have a specific programme to replace outdated Victorian infrastructure and bring it up to purpose for the 21st century?

I thank my hon. Friend for that, and I do realise the challenges that people are facing in his constituency. Repairing and replacing leaking pipes is, as he points out, absolutely critical; obviously, it is particularly critical to maintaining clean, safe, reliable drinking water to our homes and businesses. Identifying those leaks is challenging, and water companies are looking at innovative ways to improve outcomes. It is really for the companies to decide how to maintain their infrastructure, but we are pushing them with the targets that have been set. To minimise the disruption caused, they are required to provide notice of planned work to customers and local authorities.