Suffolk: Water firm misses target as millions of litres of water is lost in leaks

Bosses at Anglian Water today claimed they are better prepared to deal with leaks after it emerged the firm lost 230 million litres of water every day last year – the equivalent to letting Alton Water reservoir run dry every six weeks.

The company failed to meet its target leakage of 212 million litres per day in 2010/11.

But a spokesman said the firm made a “conscious decision” to concentrate on ensuring customers had water, rather than hitting targets, when temperatures plummeted during the particularly cold winter months.

Anglian Water has now added staff to its ranks and increased the amount of money used to prevent, detect and repair leaks.

A spokesman said: “Obviously we did miss that target but that was a conscious decision made in light of the cold and bitter winter which we experienced.

“The conditions meant that we decided to up our pressure to ensure that all of our customers had water and were not adversely affected. Had we not done this then some customers wouldn’t have had water – we chose them over the targets.

“To help stop leakage we have increased the amount of money dedicated to finding them from �7million to �14m. We have also employed a further 62 members of staff which takes the total to 140 people looking for and repairing leaks.”

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The spokesman claimed the company is in line to reach its target this year.

Anglian Water is one of seven water firms to have introduced a hosepipe ban. Those who flout the bans, which follow one of the driest two-year periods on record, face fines of up to �1,000.

Missing last year’s leakage target resulted in criticism from water and sewage regulator Ofwat.

Regina Finn, chief executive of Ofwat, said: “These failures send a poor signal about how companies value water. Customers tell us that leakage is an issue that matters to them.

“They need to have confidence that their company is doing their part to use water wisely.”

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