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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 09:52 GMT
Thames Water
Area showing map of Thames Water area

Thames Water is the biggest water company in England, supplying much of London and the surrounding counties.

  • Population supplied: 8m

  • Daily supply: 2,822m litres

  • Mains pipe: 31,416 km

  • Leakage: 895m litres/day (253 litres/property/day)

  • Supply source: 83% surface, 17% ground


    Hosepipe ban introduced on 3 April 2006 and lifted on 18 January 2007.

    Thames Water announced on 9 June 2006 that it would apply for a drought order after previously postponing the application.

    Despite the continuation of the drought the company eventually decided to withdraw its application before the order was approved.


    The Thames Water region experienced below-average water levels in every month except one between the start of November 2004 and August 2006.

    Low rainfall in two successive winters meant the rivers and aquifers from which the company draws its supply were substantially depleted.

    But successive months of above-average rainfall since September 2006 have replenished stocks and enabled the company to lift its hosepipe restrictions.

    The majority (80-90%) of London's water supply comes from two surface water sources, the River Thames and the River Lee.

    During the late summer months the river flows are boosted by groundwater from underlying aquifers.

    Outside London, most (70%) of the water supplied by the company comes from groundwater sources.

    Thames Water also has an underground reservoir in north London. Known as the "Droughtbuster" it is artificially recharged with water during the winter in order to serve nearly a million Londoners in times of drought.

    In September 2006, Thames announced plans to build a new reservoir near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. If built it would hold 150 billion litres of water.


    Water regulator Ofwat said Thames Water's failure to meet leakage reduction targets was unacceptable. The company lost 894m litres per day to leaks, when the 2005-2006 target set by Ofwat was 860m litres.

    And on 4 July 2006 it imposed a legally binding agreement on Thames to spend an extra 150m - on top of its existing spending plans - on leak repairs by 2010.

    Thames faces fines if it fails to meet a new, less restrictive leakage target imposed by Ofwat for 2006-7.

    Thames Water, which announced a 31% rise in pre-tax profits to 346.5m, said it had met leakage reduction targets outside London.


    For enquiries about the drought:
    Thames Water Utilities Ltd
    PO Box 3073
    SN38 8WY

    Telephone: 0845 641 0019

    For other enquiries:
    Thames Water Utilities Ltd
    PO Box 436
    SN38 1TU

    Telephone: 0845 9200 800

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