LONDON, England – UK major utility Thames Water has admitted that high leakage levels are “unacceptable and inefficient” and that it’s one of the biggest challenges it faces.
In its Interim report 2017/18 released this week, the utility said its “leakage performance over the last year has let down our customers and stakeholders” and that it is working hard to improve its performance.
Thames Water said most of its 31,000 km of water pipes are buried under the streets of London and the Thames Valley, so locating and repairing leaks is “no mean feat”.
The comments follow the utility being fined £8.55 million by industry regulator Ofwat in the summer for missing leakage reduction targets in 2016-2017 by 47,000 m3/day – representing 1.8 percent of average daily production.
Addressing the issue of leakage, Thames Water said it is investing £3.5 million in new technology to detect leaks, including 6,000 new acoustic loggers, which ‘listen’ for escaping water.
Since April, smart metering technology, which has started to be rolled out across London, has helped to find and fix leaks on customers’ supply pipes saving the equivalent of 1,800, m3/day.
The utility said it is also trialling a new scanning technology to help detect “defects on our large water pipes”. A torpedo-shaped scanning device is lowered through a specifically designed hatch built into a pipe, after it is taken out of service. The scanner travels down the pipe and uses acoustic technology to survey its condition.
Steve Robertson, CEO, said: “Since I arrived, we’ve had to deal with a number of high-profile bursts. I commissioned a strategic report which has been made public and contains many good recommendations to reduce such events.
"In March we also received a large fine for pollutions which dated back in some instances to 2012. We take full responsibility for these events and there should be no doubt that we have been making the necessary investment and structural changes to avoid any such repeat.”