Leakage explained

What’s happened?

Ofwat, the water regulator in England and Wales, published a report on 7 June 2018 which explains that we missed our leakage reduction target in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, and that we’re going to miss it again in 2018/2019.  

What does this mean?

This means that since 2016, more water has leaked from our network than we’d planned. Until 2016, we’d hit our leakage reduction target for 10 years in a row.

Why has this happened?

From 2015 to 2017, we made some changes to the way we tracked and fixed leaks. These changes did not deliver the results we expected and resulted in us missing our target. 

We’re working really hard to make improvements to our water network and get ourselves back on track. We’re confident these improvements will allow us to meet our 2020 leakage reduction target.

How does this affect me?

We’re going to automatically rebate our customers in their 2019/2020 bill, and provide further bill reductions from 2020-2025.

What do I need to do?

There’s no need to do anything. We’ll update you with more information on your rebate in the coming months.

Good to know

  • We’re the UK’s largest water company, taking care of 15 million customers each day.
  • We fix 1000 leaks every week.
  • 98% of our leaks are underground, making them difficult to locate and fix. The visible leaks most obvious to our customers only account for around 2% of our total leakage.
  • More than 25% of leaks happen on our customers’ property. We work with customers to repair their leaks free of charge.
  • This year, we’ve increased the total number of people we employ to find leaks by 50 percent.
  • Since 2004, we’ve replaced more than 1,700 miles of Victorian water pipes.
  • This year, as an example, we relined 1,100 metres of old pipe in 12 days in New Malden. We fed stronger, more durable plastic pipe inside the old cast iron main to protect supplies for 82,000 customers.
  • Our average combined bill remains one of the cheapest in England and Wales, at just over £1 per day.

Helpful links

Learn more about our leakage performance

Find out how we find and fix leaks

Report a leak