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It’s a result as 556,416 gallon water leak is finally plugged
IT HAS taken two weeks, a deluge of emails and a phone call from the Oxford Mail, but a leak that has been gushing out 1,656 gallons of water every hour looks like it’s finally been fixed.
Residents in Elsfield made repeated complaints to Thames Water after a valve on the main street through the village sprung a leak more than a fortnight ago. According to the company, the faulty valve was pouring out 1,656 gallons of water every hour for two weeks – that’s around 556,416 gallons.
Thames Water originally told the villagers in Elsfield, north-east of Oxford, that the earliest the leak could be repaired was September 8.
But following inquiries by the Oxford Mail this week, the firm rushed its engineers out to Elsfield yesterday, promising to fix it by the end of the day.
Staff had flagged up the leak as an “emergency job” on August 13, but Thames Water postponed the work to organise “traffic management”, which is now admits was “unacceptable” and has apologised.
Nick Butler, a retired director of IT at Oxford Brookes, was fed up of waiting for Thames Water so called the Oxford Mail.
He said: “Everyone in the village was phoning Thames Water and nothing happened.
“The newspaper phones up and bang – they were here the next day. The Oxford Mail deserves a pat on the back.”
Another villager, Stuart Curtis 76, said: “It was gushing out. My principle concern was the amount of water that was being wasted.
“It was irresponsible – Thames Water urge us to cut down on water usage. They ought to be a bit prompter themselves.”
Thames Water has the worst leakage rate in the country, although with 600,000 customers it also has the largest network.
In 2011-12 the utility spent £3.1m fixing Oxfordshire leaks, including 839 reported by customers and 1,916 “proactive” fixes.
Earlier this month it approached watchdog Ofwat for a “one-off” increase in bills by £29. Currently customers pay an average of £354 a year, though the extra £29 may be spread out over a number of years if it is approved.
The company, which fears a major water shortage by 2040, also wants to put half-a-million water meters in homes to help reduce water use.
Its customers use 161 litres a day on average, about 10 litres more than the UK average.
It wants to cut that to 153 litres in 2020 and 141 in 2040, and cut leaks by nine per cent.
But last week the Campaign to Protect Rural England called the company’s plans “seriously unambitious”.
Thames Water spokesman Sarah Sharpe said yesterday: “This was raised as an emergency job on August 13 but wasn’t fixed same day because of organising the traffic management – still, this is unacceptable.
“This was a substantial leak that should have been fixed sooner. We haven’t done well with this job and we aim to do better in the future.
“Engineers are on site today and focusing on getting it fixed as soon as possible.
“We’re really sorry to customers for the inconvenience and the water wasted.”
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