According to South West Water 30% of leaks are “typically” found on customers’ own property

SWW is offering to fix them for free because it is failing to meet leakage reduction targets. See Owl’s August analysis: SSW Leakage: how bad is it?

(Is this 30% of the number or leaks or 30% of the volume of water lost? )

The sponsored content article (below) contains a second attempt at blame-shifting:

“The region is reaching a tipping point where demand for water exceeds supply”. 

Could this, by any chance, be another example of lack of investment, sewage treatment being another?


No new reservoirs have been built in England since privatisation.

“They [the water companies] have consistently prioritised their own financial interests above those of the public, who have no choice but to use their services. Of course companies must be able to pay dividends if they are to attract capital to fund investments. But the extreme financial engineering led by rapacious private equity funds has sucked more than £72 billion out of the sector in dividends since privatisation and piled £56 billion of debt on to its balance sheet, crippling its ability to fund infrastructure projects, even as customer bills have risen by 40 per cent.” See The Times and many similar articles written in the past couple of months

South West Water’s approach to finding leaks is out of this world

NB Advertorial content, Jessie Parker 

As reservoir levels across the South West remain extremely low, customers, visitors and businesses are being urged to reduce their water usage as the sustained and significant rainfall required to recharge the reservoirs is not currently forecasted.

The region is reaching a tipping point where demand for water exceeds supply and South West Water is asking all of its customers, along with visitors to the counties, to do everything they can to save water, and the company has a range of free devices and help and advice on its website.

South West Water is also doing more now than ever before to help secure supply. This includes finding and fixing more leaks than ever before with a monthly high of 2,500 leaks.

To help with this, the water company has nearly doubled its number of staff detecting leaks and is using cutting-edge technologies to further support the rapid detection and repair of leaks.

Most pipe leakage is invisible to the human eye because water doesn’t break the surface. South West Water is employing the use of special satellites to help find these leaks up to two metres underground, and has drone pilots searching out hard-to-reach places across Dartmoor and Exmoor.

With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, South West Water has also extended its offer to find and fix these leaks for free – saving enough water so far to serve the equivalent of 8,000 homes.

We spoke to Martin Pipe, customer regional delivery manager, who has worked for South West Water for 16 years.

Explaining what’s led to the current position, Martin said: “We’ve experienced one of the driest and hottest periods in our region in over a century, with below average levels of rainfall paired with high levels of demand during the summer.

“We’ve been urging customers and visitors to the region to do everything they can to reduce the amount of water they use, while our own teams are out fixing more leaks than ever before, including repairing customer leaks for free.

“Our team of leakage experts work around the clock pinpointing and fixing leaks as quickly as possible. It’s a big job, we’ve got 9,320 miles of network mains covering a rural and hilly region.  We’re heavily investing in technology to help us use real-time data to make sure we do everything we can to find and fix leaks quicker.

“This includes using satellites to help find water leaks underground with the same technology used to search for water on other planets, such as Mars. It works by using microwave sensors onboard a satellite in space to take photos of the earth showing potential water leaks.

“As microwaves can penetrate up to two metres underground, the data will highlight potential leaks which may not be showing above ground so our leakage technicians can locate more leaks and make necessary repairs.”

How to tell if you may have a leak

Martin went on to explain how you can tell whether you’re losing water through leakage: “You can easily have a leak and not see it. In fact, the majority of leaks will be running without anyone knowing anything is wrong and a lot of leaks will run underground. So just because you can’t see a leak, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.”

Because of this it can be hard to tell whether you’ve got a leak but a clear sign is an increased bill at a time when your water usage hasn’t gone up. Once reported, South West Water will help you locate the leak and find out who’s responsible: “If you suspect a leak but are unsure, give us a call or visit our website as soon as possible and our teams can help you determine if you have a leak and, if so, how to resolve it.

You can report a suspected leak to South West Water by filling out this quick online form or by calling 0800 230 0561. For more information about the current water usage bans and what’s being done to tackle it, head to the South West Water website.