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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 July, 2003, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Better drinking water on tap
Tap water
Tape water is safe but some people prefer bottled water
London has one of the highest standards of drinking water in the country, according to new figures from the water watchdog.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) says the standard of tap water in England and Wales is at an all-time high.

In London, of 542,555 tests carried out by Thames Water 99.92% met the DWI's standards.

But the DWI also wants to improve customer satisfaction over the appearance and taste of tap water.

The DWI's Milo Purcell told BBC London: "Although technically the water quality is very good, people are concerned about the aesthetic quality of the water.

"We would like hear from them if they have a problem with the taste and odour. We really want to try and fix that."

'Waste of money'

Market research has found that people do feel tap water is safe but the sales of bottled water are rocketing.

Mr Purcell said people are wasting their money.

"I think people realise that cost-wise it makes no sense to spend money on expensive alternatives.

"Why do you want to pay all that money when the quality out of the tape is so good."

In 2002 the number of tests failing to meet drinking water standards was only 3,741, compared to nearly 37,000 ten years ago.

BBC London's Leyla Hayes
"London's firefighters are encouraged to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration."

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