Water company must mend its ways as well as its pipes

Local MEP keeps up the pressure on Thames Water

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After taking up the concerns of thousands of Londoners about the hosepipe ban which came into effect on 3rd April 2006, Syed Kamall, MEP for London, has secured a commitment from Thames Water that it will improve its performance on repairing leaks.

In a letter to the London MEP, the company announced a “new initiative aimed at driving down our leakage repair cycle times to an absolute minimum” and admitted it could reduce its existing backlog of work.

“It should not have taken this long to get to grips with leakages but at least Thames Water is now promising to deliver what I have been asking for,” said Syed Kamall. “The company can work better with contractors to fix repairs on time. It can keep customers better informed about leak repair. And it can get the additional resources, like gangs of skilled technicians, to make it happen.”

“It is a shame it has taken a hosepipe ban and complaints from thousands of Londoners to deliver progress. Now we have to make sure the company delivers on its commitments to improve its performance on leakages.”

Syed Kamall is continuing his campaign to improve water delivery to Londoners living in high rise flats. In some areas where Thames is planning to cut water pressures, the company is making a grant available equivalent to just 50% of the cost of installing a pump.

“Taking away someone’s water supply and them asking them to stump up half the cost of a pump so they can get it back is just not fair,” said Mr Kamall. “I will be writing to the regulator for an explanation as to why he is requiring people’s council tax money to be spent to cover the other half of the cost. In my view the company should pay. We all pay enough in council tax as it is”.

Thames Water are currently undertaking a ten month £500 million project to replace the ageing Victorian water mains in Chiswick and surrounding areas. Engineers will be focusing primarily on areas where leakage is highest and replacing whole areas of pipework with new, more flexible plastic pipes.

Half of London's water mains are over 100 years old, while a third have been in use for more than 150 years. As a result of modern day stresses of the capital's traffic, the ageing cast iron mains beneath the roads suffer from repeated bursts.


April 20, 2006