Leakage falling but not fast enough, warns consumer watchdog

The amount of water lost through leaky supply pipes in England and Wales has fallen for the first time in five years, but the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) says some water companies can still do much better.

Figures released in CCWater’s Delving into Water show leakage fell by just over 1 per cent in 2015/16, with most water companies continuing to deliver better water and sewerage services for their customers and high levels of consumer satisfaction.

But the consumer watchdog says some water companies can still do much more to plug leakage and reduce the 121 litres of water that is wasted on average per household each day – enough to fill a large bath and washing machine.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of CCWater, said: “Water compares very favourably to most other utilities when you see consumer satisfaction with value for money at a five year high and complaints at their lowest level for eight years.”

“But leakage remains an important issue for consumers and it can dampen their own motivation to save water if they think their water company is not pulling its weight. With pressure continuing to mount on our water resources, some water companies need to show more ambition in beating – not just meeting – their leakage targets.”

Delving into Water examines water companies’ performance across a number of key areas over the past five years, including handling complaints, customer assistance schemes, sewer flooding, leaks, metering, drinking water quality and interruptions to water supplies.

The report’s other key findings also show:

  • Consumers have high levels of satisfaction with many aspects of their water and sewerage services.
  • Most companies are performing well in many key areas, including increasing assistance for customers struggling to pay, metering, drinking water quality and tackling sewer flooding.
  • Overall written complaints from customers fell for an eighth successive year – but ten water companies bucked the trend and reported a rise. Some of these increases were very substantial.
  • The amount of time consumers were without a water supply due to a burst supply pipe or maintenance work decreased. But only just over half of water companies in England and Wales made an improvement in this area.

The information in Delving into Water will support CCWater’s on-going work in pressing companies to improve their service where they are underperforming for consumers.

You can read the full report here (pdf)

For more information please call the CCWater media team on 0121 345 1005/1006

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