Eureka! Thames Water invention to help cut leakage by a quarter and reduce customers' bills

Jan 02, 2008

Boffins at Thames Water have come up with up a new invention to reduce the millions of litres of water lost through leaking pipes by up to a quarter.

The device, called 'Leakfrog' will boost Thames Water's programme of leakage reduction, by detecting the amount of water escaping from customers' pipes - which accounts for around 25 per cent of all water lost in Thames Water's supply area.

When attached to a water meter overnight on a property, the Leakfrog will show if any water is being lost, and therefore allow customers to get the leaks fixed and reduce their water bills.

John Halsall, Thames Water's Director of Water Services, said:
"We are making great progress on tackling leakage, but it's still our biggest priority. While huge savings are being made through our Victorian mains replacement programme across London, up to a quarter of all leakage - around 170 million litres a day - is actually from pipe work belonging to customers. Until now, this water loss has been extremely difficult to pinpoint and account for."

"Now, with Leakfrog we can get a better idea of how much water is leaking from the customer's side. Leaks are not only an unnecessary waste of water, but left undetected can add hundreds of pounds to bills and cause damage to the property. Often customers are unaware if they have leaking pipes. Leakfrog will help identify them, but we would also advise any customers who have seen bills rise by unusually high amounts to contact our customer centre or a qualified plumber. We don't want anyone to be paying over the odds."

Nic Clay-Michael, Special Projects Manager at Thames Water, and one of Leakfrog's inventors, said:

"The current leakage detection device we use is bulky, much more difficult to attach to a water meter and complicated to use. Practically, it can only be fitted to around 15 per cent of water meters on our mains replacement sites, whereas Leakfrog can be used on all meters at less than a tenth of the cost."

Thames Water registered Leakfrog with the Patent Office in August 2006. The device was then developed for production in partnership with Qonnectis, the AIM-listed energy and water conservation technology services provider.

Michael Tapia, Chief Executive of Qonnectis, said:
"Customer side leakage is a major issue for the UK water industry and the installation of Leakfrog detection units will help to spot and reduce leakage significantly."

"Thames Water is being extremely proactive with leakage reduction and our partnership with them represents a milestone not just for Qonnectis, but for the UK water industry in cost-effectively attacking customer side leakage for the first time."

Thames Water is responsible for the majority of the water mains network, however, the supply pipe is the customer's responsibility. This pipe runs from the edge of the public highway and ends at the customer's inside stop valve. Leaks on the underground supply pipe are difficult to identify and can often go unnoticed as the escaping water may drain away naturally.

The average water loss per property, that Thames Water has identified to date is the equivalent of:
  • 95 toilet flushes per day;
  • 19 baths a day;
  • 23 showers a day; or
  • 600 kettles of water a day.

Further information:
Rebecca Johnson
Press Officer
Thames Water
Vastern Road
Reading RG1 8DB
Tel: +44 (0)118 373 8920

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