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Water on Wheels scheme launched in Lancashire

December 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Homeowners across Britain, particularly those who are vulnerable or live on their own, often worry about the potentially devastating consequences of losing water supply, even for a relatively short period of time. A water company in Lancashire has worked to ease concerns for those living in the region by unveiling a fleet of tankers worth £1 million and split between bases in Samlesbury and Bickerstaffe in a bid to keep the water flowing at all times.

The scheme, called Water on Wheels, is the brainchild of United Utilities and aims to ensure that no homeowner has to make do without water supply, even when emergencies or planned mains work put the main water supply at risk. The scheme relies upon nine Volvo articulated super-tankers, each of which can carry 30,000 litres of water and the tankers have already been put to good use since their launch, with those in the Blackburn, Accrington, and Preston areas of the region particularly thankful for the new scheme.

Colin McDermott, the Emergency Plant manager at United Utilities, revealed that the company are constantly striving to meet the expectations of those whose water they supply but the one thing that customers demand more than any other is, quite understandably, a steady and reliable supply of water. With significant bursts in the water network usually compromising the ability of said network to supply water, the tankers will now be able to pump around 2,400 litres each minute into the mains whilst the necessary repairs are being made by engineers.

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Water firm admits water pollution

December 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

Dŵr Cymru, the Welsh water company, has been severely criticised by the Environment Agency after it emerged that they allowed untreated sewage to seep into Llyn Padarn lake in Llanberis, Gwynedd via the Afon Goch back in April of this year.

With the lake eventually flowing towards the sea mouth at Caernarfon, it’s not hard to see why this case is such a serious one for the water industry, but Dŵr Cymru seem to have escaped from the unfortunate incident relatively lightly, with the company handed a six month conditional discharge and a fine of just £3,800.

It is thought that the water firm were not treated as harshly as may have been the case as they pleaded guilty and the eventual consequences of the sewage leak were relatively minor; an investigation found that nothing died as a result of the lake pollution and the impact on users was minimal, since they were kept fully informed of the incident and the potential health risks resulting from it.

This case, although resolved through the final decision of the magistrate, is likely to continue to cause a fair amount of controversy in the months to come, with local angling associations still angry about the manner in which Dŵr Cymru apparently allowed the sewerage system in question to become so damaged and affected by time and general wear and tear that it ended up breaking.

One thing is for sure, though, and that’s the fact that the water firm is likely to be monitored closely over the coming months as the Environment Agency seek to gain both confirmation and reassurance that important lessons have been learned.

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6 water firms miss leakage targets

December 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Six water companies have been mentioned in Ofwat’s annual report for having failed to hit their leakage targets. There are 21 companies in total, so the fact that six of them failed to hit their targets is quite worrying. However, there was some better news as Ofwat revealed that most of the companies provided a good service to consumers.

The worst offender was Yorkshire Water, which lost 295 million litres of water a day in the 2009/10 period. Other companies to miss their targets included Dee Valley, Northumbrian, Cambridge and Veolia Central.

The fact that so many companies missed their targets was made all the more surprising in view of the fact that every company has hit its targets for the last two years. Ofwat is surely going to be looking for answers as to why this year should have been so much worse.

One likely explanation is that the coldest winter in over 30 years is partly to blame. This led to areas of ground being covered by snow, which can make it more difficult to spot the leaks. Also, the action of freezing and thawing can cause ground movement which can burst the pipes.

Despite the excuse of the cold weather, Ofwat said that companies that fail to meet their leakage targets will have to improve. Water lost through pipe leakages is on such a vast scale that hitting the targets is a very serious issue. If the companies continue to fail to reach their targets then this could have serious repercussions for the whole of the UK if we are affected by any more droughts.

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