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How we manage leaks
We spend £12 million a year managing leakage and repairing leaks, but we still miss some of them. So, we're happy to hear from you if you discover or are aware of a leak.
- I've found a leak, how do I report it?
- If you see a leak in our area of supply you can report it to us using our Leak report form or by calling our 24 hour Leakline number, 0800 389 10 11.
- Do you set targets for dealing with leaks?
- Our regulator Ofwat sets us annual targets, based on achieving leakage levels where overall costs are minimised – this is known as the economic level of leakage. Below this level it would cost more to fix the leak than the value of the water lost. Since Ofwat has set these targets we have successfully achieved all of them. During 2010/11 we reported a leakage level of 72.8 Ml/d, beating our target of 74 Ml/d.
- If so, what are you doing to make sure you keep on top of leaks?
- We are investing significant sums of money, nearly £7 million this year.
This covers a number of areas, including:
- Repairing the visible leaks reported to us
- Monitoring of the pipe network to detect any increase in leakage
- Locating and repairing the hidden, sub-surface leaks which don't show at ground level
- Replacing parts of our pipe network to minimise bursts and leakage
- Installing automated equipment to control network pressures
It is impossible to eliminate leakage completely. Like most other things our underground pipe network wears out and suffers damage from the external environment, for example from ground movement associated with freezing temperatures or very dry weather and the impact of traffic on the roads.
- I reported a leak, why has nothing been done yet?
- Sometimes repairs can take longer than expected due to special working requirements, particularly from local authorities, for example, in order to avoid traffic disruption as far as possible. Some leaks also take longer to repair due to the size of the main and the area it supplies.
- If the area has been marked in blue paint we are aware of the leak and will be making the necessary arrangements for repair.
- The leak is repaired, why are there still barriers there?
- There could be several reasons why barriers are left on site:
- If the hole is still open, it may mean that further investigation is required, or problems have occurred that delay backfilling of the hole.
- If the hole is backfilled, we try and operate a "first time permanent reinstatement" system, which means we repair the leak and reinstate the ground to a permanent level within a few days. This saves on material and wastage, and helps to reduce our carbon footprint.
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