Water firm supplying thousands of homes in Huntingdonshire vows to cut down on leaks

Cambridge Water has vowed to cut down on leaks.

Cambridge Water has vowed to cut down on leaks. - Credit: Archant

Almost 16 per cent of Cambridge Water’s supply was lost to leaks last year, the water utility company has said.

Water leakage was discussed at a "water crisis forum" on November 5 where councillors and experts gathered to discuss the problems of over-abstraction and reduced river flow.

As part of the discussion, a Cambridge Water representative told the meeting the company would be undertaking an "ambitious leakage reduction plan" that would result in reduced water abstraction.

Cambridge Water confirmed after the meeting that it distributed 84.2 million litres of water a day in 2018/19, of which 13.2 million litres a day was lost to leakage.

The company said that was better than its leakage target for the year of 13.5 million litres a day.

As well as Cambridge city, the company supplies water to thousands of homes in Huntingdonshire, including in St Ives, Ramsey, Bluntisham, Earith, Needingworth, and Papworth.

Following a meeting where a number of concerns over water shortages were raised, the councillor who organised the forum, Katie Thornburrow, said of the leak figures: "It's horrendous. The investment in our water supply is not adequate.

Most Read

"It was privatised and there must be a profit, the profit is going to shareholders - that's what businesses do - but more needs to go into the infrastructure.

"My understanding is it's not just the pipes supplying us, there's also an awful lot of leakages in houses as well."

Water resources manager at Cambridge Water, Daniel Clark, told the forum that Cambridge Water was going to be investing in reducing leakage, which he said in turn would reduce water abstraction rates.

He said: "We plan for the next 25 years. Our next water resources plan becomes effective in April next year… we are actually reducing our abstraction by 8.9 million litres a day in our next plan to protect the environment. So that's water that is going back to the environment from our abstractions.

"We are reducing the amount we abstract across all of our sources to prevent further deterioration of the environment. So effectively we are self-imposing a cap on the amount of water we abstract from the chalk aquifer."

Leakage strategy manager at Cambridge Water, James Curtis, said in a statement after the meeting: "Our target is to reduce leakage by two million litres a day, which is a 15 per cent drop."