REVEALED: United Utilities loses more than 430m litres of water a day to leaks

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On the same day a hosepipe ban was announced in the North West it was also revealed that United Utilities wastes millions of litres of water in leakages every day, a leading trade union has said.

The hosepipe ban, which will take effect on August 5, was announced by United Utilities today to combat water shortages in the area following a month-long heatwave.

The hosepipe ban, which will take effect on August 5, was announced by United Utilities todayto combat water shortages in the area, following a month-long heatwave.

The hosepipe ban, which will take effect on August 5, was announced by United Utilities todayto combat water shortages in the area, following a month-long heatwave.

Read more: United Utilities announce hosepipe ban
Everything you need to know about the hosepipe ban

And as millions of people in the North West are facing shortages figures from the Consumer Council for Water show that United Utilities let more than 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water go down the plug hole every single day, says GMB, the union for the water industry.

The latest leakage figures, provided by the Consumer Council for Water, show that 439,200,000 litres of treated water are wasted in United Utilities' area each day.

That represents a whopping 133 litres of water per day per household, says the union - the equivalent of a full bath tub and washing machine cycle thrown away in every home.

In total, water companies across England and Wales lost 3 billion litres of treated water every single day in 2017 to leaks.

An investigation by GMB last month claimed that the boss of United Utilities private water company trousered a whopping £12 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past five years.

The CEO of the North West water company is said to have taken home £2,310,000 in 2017 alone – twelve times more than PM 49% more than in 2013, the union added.

Meanwhile, a study from the National Audit Office showed that people's water bills have increased by 40% above inflation since the water industry was privatised by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1989.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said: “Millions of people in the North West are facing a hosepipe ban while United Utilities let more than 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water go down the plug hole every single day.

“It’s a disgrace that customers face a £1,000 fine as private water fat cats trouser millions, all the while failing to invest to tackle leakages.

“While we have had hot weather, the UK uses less than 2% of the water that falls from the sky each year and which flows into the sea.”

“Whatever the weather, we need to take back the tap and ensure our water services are run in the interests of the public once more and not just the few at the top."

A United Utilities spokesperson said: “Reducing leaks is a top priority. We have cut leakage by half since the 1990s and are working hard to do even more.

"For instance, we now use satellites to help to detect leaks, and we have just recruited a team of sniffer dogs trained to pinpoint leaks in rural areas where the water does not always show on the surface.

“The company takes the issue of losses of water from its distribution network very seriously and every year invests millions of pounds to minimise the amount of water lost.

"Currently, there are over 160 full-time inspectors detecting leaks across the region. Since the Beast from the East severe weather event in February and response to the ongoing drought, we have increased both our leakage detection and repair activities by around 50%.

"In addition to traditional detection methods, we are also investing in emerging satellite technology to help spot leaks.”

Company leakage per day (000,000s) 2016-17

Water and sewerage companies

Anglian 180.0

Northumbrian 133.8

Severn Trent 431.6

South West 84.4

Southern 88.1

Thames 677.2

United Utilities 439.2

Wessex 68.4

Yorkshire 295.2

Total leakage from big 9 water & sewerage companies 2,397.9