Local MEP turns up the pressure on Thames water

“OFWAT needs sharper teeth to deal with leaks”

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Reports that Thames water has once again failed to meet its leak target - whilst still making bumper profits - will further increase customer's frustration with London's water supplier, London Euro-MP, Syed Kamall, said today. Mr Kamall took up the unsatisfactory level of water leakage with Thames earlier this year, and was given an assurance that they would do all they could to drive down leak repair times.

But despite the commitment, they are still struggling to ensure the holes in the network are plugged. Mr Kamall said that Thames water often claims repairs are delayed while they gain permission from local authorities to access leak sites. He said Thames should have a better procedure for working with local councils to speed up repairs.

Mr Kamall also said news of Thames' bumper pre-tax profits - £346.5 million - will anger bill payers. Mr Kamall has been campaigning for Thames to pay the full cost of booster pumps in high rise buildings which will suffer from reduced water pressure when Thames turns the network's pressure down in an attempt to control leaks. So far, OFWAT has let Thames get away with not paying the full cost of these pumps.

Mr Kamall said "Thames Water is making enough money to sort out London's leaking water network yet they do not yet seem to be anywhere near to getting on top of the problem."Londoners are being told they should save water but how can they take that message seriously when their supplier is losing the equivalent of around 350 Olympic size swimming pools every day?

"Thames' profits will add further insult to injury to the many Londoners living in high-rise blocks who have been told they will have to pay towards a booster pump. Thames turned their pressure down in an attempt to lessen the level of leaking but they are refusing to pay for the pumps required to ensure people in tall buildings get more than a dribble of water.

"OFWAT needs to have more powers to take drastic action to bring water companies like Thames into line. If Thames can't fix the leaks, OFWAT should have the power to fine Thames and use the money to send in contractors of their own. Public rebukes do not seem to be getting the job done."

June 22, 2006