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Thames Water could Face Fines for Leakage

June 28, 2006 at 10:42 am

Thames Water may be fined after failing to meet leakage targets during 2005-2006.

Ofwat released a statement last week saying that the company is inefficient and has contributed towards shortages which has led them to impose hosepipe bans and seek drought orders.

It is the third year in a row they have missed their targets, with leakage reported as high as 915 million litres a day last year. It is not surprising then that their customers see it as a farce when told they are not allowed to water their gardens or wash their cars.

The leakage target of 860 mega-litres per day was missed by 34 mega-litres so it seems only fair that the water company are penalised. Lets hope that the money will be well spent either finding solutions to the leakage problem or reducing ever increasing bills.

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Scottish Water is the Leakiest in Britain

June 19, 2006 at 5:35 pm

Reports have shown that Scottish Water is losing a billion litres of water a day through leaks and dripping taps. While much of the South of England are facing drought and water restrictions, water is literally pouring away in Scotland.

The amount currently being lost is enough to supply 2 million people – 1.1 billion litres a day during 05-06. Leakage is coming from faulty mains, many of which are 120 years old and also from pipes between the mains and households as well as dripping taps and general wastage in homes.

The water company have pledged to fix the problem in a four year plan costing £2.4 billion. It has been an ongoing problem as many of the mains already had leaks when the Scottish Water replaced three regional water boards. The situation had been neglected so needs action now. A spokesman from the water board assured the Scotsman recently that the new funding and targets should mean a “significant reduction in leakage”.

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Good News for Window Cleaners

June 14, 2006 at 10:29 am

Since talk of drought began and restrictions and orders were put in place, one of the most concerned groups have been window cleaners. Their day to day activity relies on the use of water and their safety relies on the apparatus they use – yet restriction threatened the use of both.

However The Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC) are able to reassure those in the window cleaning business as they successfully lobbied DEFRA so that water-fed pole systems can still be used for the cleaning of windows at height.

After drought orders were granted to water companies in the south, the FWC were worried about the safety and livelihood of those in the window cleaning business as their options seem to be continue business and violate the orders or start using ladders and violate the Work at Height Restrictions (WAHR) implemented by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Neither options were really viable so the FWC noted their objections as soon as the drought orders were logged so they could represent members at hearings.

With the help of the British Window Cleaning Academy, Omnipole, the HSE and support from local newspapers the decision to allow window cleaners to continue using water fed poles to clean windows in Sutton and East Surrey was made. There are still some restrictions whereby water must be fed from portable tanks and not mains supplies and that ground floor windows should be cleaned by traditional methods where possible.

Either way, it is great news for window cleaners in the south who can continue their work without compromising their safety and if further drought orders are granted, the FWC will continue to push for similar rulings.

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The Rules of Restrictions

June 8, 2006 at 1:38 am

The sun is finally showing its face, summer may actually be here after a long, if not dry winter. Most people will be rejoicing over some long awaited rays, but it still means bad news for the current water situation in the South.

Hosepipe bans are being felt by millions and drought orders are in place in several areas. Does this really mean that people are taking the water shortage seriously though and what are the consequences or restricting water use in this way?

We have had a lot of feedback from our visitors trying to find out exactly what the restrictions cover and what happens if someone does not seem to be playing by the rules. Banning hosepipes and sprinklers is surely supposed to be preventing excessive water wastage but it seems that water can just as easily be wasted in other ways. One user wrote in to tell us about a neighbour who had refrained from using their hosepipe to water their lawn but proceeded to tip nearly 100 litres of water over the grass out of a bucket. The message of conserving the amount of water used seems to be have completely lost here.

The question raised was ‘They may not be using a hosepipe but is this excessive use of water justified at a time of such severe drought?’ I got in touch with the water company to confirm this. The ban states:
– Hosepipes, sprinklers and pressure hoses may not be
used at all unless for filling a pond with fish in or if using recycled water
– The use of buckets and watering cans are allowed for watering gardens and washing cars

So, technically throwing buckets of water over your lawn is ok? No, if it is excessive. The water company representative confirmed that if a customer witnessed a neighbour regularly using water in this way then they would be in their rights to complain to the company and the company would get in touch to give them a slap on the wrist and remind them of the restrictions in place.

It seems only fair at a time when water reserves are low that everyone equally respects the restrictions put in place. To find out about the current situation in your area, check our hosepipe ban page and for tips on the best ways to conserve water at home, read Soak’s water saving tips.

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