Scottish Water plugging the gaps but leaks still an issue
THE amount of water being lost in Scotland through leaks has been cut by more than a third after a £2.45 billion programme of improvements.
However, more than 700 million litres of water a day are still being lost, according to a study published by the independent Output Monitoring Group.
And more than 100 projects earmarked for completion over the past four years have yet to be delivered by Scottish Water.
However, two-thirds of Scots have benefited from improvements in the quality of their drinking water.
The investment programme announced by ministers in 2005 aimed to improve the quality of water, the quality of service and impact on the environment between 2006 and 2010.
The report found that, over this period, service improved by 76 per cent and standards are now in line with those in England and Wales. Scottish Water's leakage rate fell by more than a third - down from 1,104 million litres a day in 2005-6 to about 705 million litres a day last year. The saving of 400 million litres is enough to supply half of Scotland's households every day.
But the report also warned: "Scottish Water is required to achieve further reductions in the next investment period 2010-15 in order to bring leakage down to an economic and sustainable level."
The investment programme provided 5,000 construction jobs across Scotland, with 1,600km of pipes replaced or relined and more than 550 water or waste treatment works maintained.
About 3.5 million people have also benefited from improvements in drinking water quality over the past four years, which is now at its highest level.
Infrastructure minister Keith Brown said: "Following the hard work of Scottish Water staff in assisting customers with frozen pipes during this winter's severe winter, this is further evidence of the utility's status as a great public company.
"We are of course currently consulting on ways Scottish Water can take on new functions, help generate more green energy and develop new commercial opportunities.
"I encourage those with an interest in the findings and in the debate about giving Scottish Water room to grow, within public ownership, to have their say to help create a great Scottish enterprise."
The SNP have ruled out calls to privatise or "mutualise" Scottish Water, which opposition parties say would give it access to more funds.
Of the 1,473 improvement projects expected to be completed by 2010, some 135 are still outstanding according to yesterday's report.
These include the project at Glencorse on the outskirts of Edinburgh, aimed at improving the quality of the city's water, but which has been deemed too "large and complex" to deliver inside a four-year timeframe.It is due for completion this summer.
Others were subjected to delays in planning and land acquisition.
The report also warned that the size of the investment programme, at about 600 million a year, was too large to manage for both Scottish Water and the construction industry in Scotland.
It called for a 500m annual cap on spending to improve the delivery of projects.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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