My first reaction, when I saw the news story about Thames Water’s invention for identifying leakage from its customers’ pipes, was that this was typical of them: putting resource into proving that the minority (25%) of leakage was not their responsibility, rather than fixing the bigger problem of their own leakage. This may well be the case, but the press-release that this story came from made me wonder why this is necessary at all. The figures in Thames Water’s press release are somewhat ambiguous, in that it is not clear whether the ‘average water loss per property’ quoted is just the 25% from customers’ pipes, or the includes that from Thames Water’s pipes too. However, whether the leakage from customers’ pipes is equivalent 95 or 24 extra toilet flushes per house per day (or 19 or 5 extra baths per house per day), that seems, to me, to be a lot of water… especially as not all properties have leaks. It’s not a small dribble that ‘can often go unnoticed as the escaping water may drain away naturally’. As the new invention only works on water meters and can’t be used on unmetered properties, I would have thought that those that would benefit most from the application of this invention would have already noticed that their water bills were rather high.
Not only are there customers apparently content to pay large water bills for their leaks, but Thames Water will also pay for their repairs for them. It clearly pays to spend money like water.