UNITED Utilities, the North West's water and wastewater company, has set a new record for beating water leakage.
Despite the coldest winter for years, the first three months of this year saw leakage cut by 81 megalitres per day compared with the previous-best quarter in 2001 of 77 megalitres per day.
Cutting unnecessary leaks from the water system is a major focus for water companies throughout the country. Each year, the regulator, Ofwat, sets individual regional targets for cutting leaks.
As well as setting a quarterly record, United Utilities also met the latest annual target for the year ending March 2009.
Gary Dixon, water operations director of the company, said: “Beating leakage and saving water is one of our major objectives and is growing in importance as the need for environmental sustainability becomes ever more pronounced.
“I am particularly pleased that we managed to not only hit our targets but also set a new quarterly record, despite the extreme cold over Christmas and New Year.”
United Utilities has more than halved levels of leakage over the last 15 years. Totals have reduced from 960 megalitres a day (ml/d) in 1992/93 to 463 ml/d in 2008/09.
This has been achieved through a wide range of measures including replacing old water pipes.
Significant investment is devoted to reducing leakage - expenditure on leakage reduction during 2006/07 was around £29 million.
From 2010-2015, the company aims to cut leakage by 15 million litres a day – equivalent to the usage of 115,000 households.