Water Supply

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10 November 2022.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Independent, Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the (a) national water infrastructure and (b) steps being taken by water companies to reduce leaks.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

HM Government recognises the need to improve the resilience of our water supplies and is committed to a twin track approach to improving water resilience. This involves investing in new supply infrastructure and action to reduce water company leaks and improve water efficiency.

The National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England to 2050 and beyond. The Framework sets out how we will reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new water supply infrastructure, move water to where itis needed, increase drought resilience of water supplies, and reduce the need for drought measures.

Before the end of this year, water companies will publish their statutory draft Water Resources Management Plans for consultation, that will set out how they will improve drought resilience, secure water supplies, reduce leakage and improve water efficiency in the long term.

HM Government expects water companies to take action to reduce levels of leakage and has consistently challenged them on their performance. Water companies have committed to a government endorsed target to reduce leakage by 50% sector-wide by 2050. As a first step, Ofwat has set requirements for water companies to cut leaks by 16% and reduce mains bursts by 12% by 2025. In July, Ofwat reported that industry wide leakage has reduced by 11% since 2017-18.

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