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Water firm ‘on its game’ as others blasted for burst pipes fallout from ‘Beast from the East’

PUBLISHED: 08:57 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 22 June 2018

The streets of Ipswich were covered in a blanket of white as the 'Beast from the East' descended in February  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The streets of Ipswich were covered in a blanket of white as the 'Beast from the East' descended in February Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


Anglian Water said it was ‘on its game’ as other water companies were singled out for criticism by the industry watchdog for their response to the ‘Beast from the East’ Arctic blast in February and March which left thousands of customers without water.

Anglian Water laying new mains in the Stoke Park and Chantry areas of Ipswich in 2017 Picture: ANGLIAN WATERAnglian Water laying new mains in the Stoke Park and Chantry areas of Ipswich in 2017 Picture: ANGLIAN WATER

A spike in bursts and leaks led to 200,000 properties UK-wide being left without water for an extended period of time, but in the east, only 163 of Anglian Water’s four million customers were affected for an extended period, and Ofwat said it had “performed well”.

Ofwat gave Thames Water, Severn Trent, Southern Water and South East Water three months to provide a detailed, externally audited, action plan setting out how they are tackling the concerns raised and vowed to take further action against any water company which does not show it will be ready to perform well in the future.

However, Anglian Water is now facing another challenge – dry weather – which has resulted in Essex receiving 1.4mm of rain, meaning it could be heading for the driest June on record for the county unless the weather changes.

But the firm has stressed there will be no hosepipe ban this year, thanks in part to a wet winter which means reservoirs and groundwater stores are healthy and in some cases above average.

Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson Picture: TIM GEORGEAnglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson Picture: TIM GEORGE

It has also recorded another record year on leakage levels which it says are now the lowest in the UK, and is trialling innovative water efficiency schemes in Newmarket, which have seen customers get as low as 80 litres of consumption per person per day, resulting in a 7% reduction in usage year-on-year.

“Some of the reasons customers in this region were unaffected during the big freeze are the same things that mean we aren’t facing a hosepipe ban this summer either,” said chief executive Peter Simpson.

“We’re on our game and always striving to do more when it comes to leakage. We’re the best in the industry and much of the world, which means we’re better placed than most to deal with the risk of cold snaps and droughts – because we’re not losing as much water as some other companies day-to-day.”

Mr Simpson thanked customers for their water efficiency, reflected in the fact that the average resident in the East of England uses 133 litres of water a day, lower than the national average of 140-145 litres.

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