Lack of investement to blame for leaks and hosepipe bans, says MP

LEAKING pipes and hosepipe bans are due to “wasteful planning” which has driven water systems to breaking point, according to an MP.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey has criticised water companies for a lack of investment across the network and the government for “negligence of infrastructure” which he said had led to leaks.

Mr Healey cited figures from Discover Water, which gathers data on how water companies are performing, and said 21.7 billion litres of water was lost every week in the UK because of leaks from water systems.

He added: “The poor planning and neglect of vital infrastructure by the Conservatives has forced our water system to breaking point.

“We live in a country that experiences plenty of rain throughout non-summer months and we shouldn’t have to rely on hosepipe bans to get us through drier months.

“A lack of investment by water companies across the network has caused leaks on an industrial scale.

“If the water companies got their own house in order, maybe they wouldn’t need to impose bans on people across Rotherham and Barnsley.

“The Government needs to get a grip of the problem and work with water companies to avoid further disruption in the future.”

Mr Healey said Water UK figures showed that over 130 litres of water per household have been wasted across Yorkshire every day because of leaky pipes across the water network over the last three years — the equivalent of almost three washing machine cycles.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also backed calls for water companies to address leakage.

Water minister Steve Double said: “The public and government rightly expect more from our water companies and we've been clear they need to fix leaks.

“Ofwat (The Water Services Regulation Authority) has put in place clear financial consequences for companies that underperform on leakage.

“If we don't see the changes we expect, we won’t hesitate to take further action.”

Yorkshire Water said reducing water lost through leaks was one of its key priorities with engineers working on a seven day working pattern to fix leaky pipes all year round.

“We have invested £500m in leakage reduction over the last five years and have met our target, set by Ofwat, for the last three years,” they said.

“We have reduced leakage by 50 per cent since our last hosepipe ban in 1995/6 and are on track to deliver a 15 per cent reduction in this current five-year AMP.”