Over half of the UK’s water companies reported rising levels of commercial water leakage this year, according to the Consumer Council for Water.
CC Water has called on the industry to do more to tackle the problem.
The report by CC Water, titled “Delving into Water”, showed that consumer confidence in water companies is on the increase, with satisfaction and trust on an upward curve and complaints dropping.
However, fewer than half of all water companies had reduced leakage since the start of the year during a time when consumers are being urged to save water.
The industry had committed to reduce leakage over the next five years and CC Water said it will be pushing companies to exceed their targets.
Water supply interruptions and sewer flooding reduction has also been slower than expected, according to the report.
Tony Smith, chief executive of CC Water, said: “Overall it’s a positive picture and the water industry deserves credit for delivering services that most customers are very satisfied with. However, leakage is a key concern for customers and we know it has a big impact on their own motivation to save water. If we want consumers to take water efficiency seriously, water companies need to show more ambition in tackling leakage.”
The “Delving into Water” report examined the performance of water companies based on a wide range of factors that customers considered important, including complaint handling, payment assistance schemes, sewer flooding, leakage, metering and supply interruptions, as well as the quality of drinking water and consumption.
The key findings of the report were as follows:
a) Customers remain satisfied with water and sewerage services, as well as value for money.
b) Complaint levels have fallen, in line with the decrease over the last seven years.
c) Sewer flooding decreased in 2014/15, although this could be due to a drier winter rather than company forethought.
d) Leakage levels have been on the rise again since their lowest level in 2011/12. Fewer than half of companies reduced their leakage levels in the last year.
e) Interruptions in water supply were reduced overall, but only a small number actually made significant changes. Nine companies reported longer interruptions than last year.
f) Customer water use has only reduced slightly, and two thirds of customers had not heard about the need to save water.