London

London 'facing water crisis', report claims

Burst Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The capital has seen 26,082 burst pipes between 2015 and February 2019

London is facing a water crisis after pipes burst 26,000 times in the last four years, a report claims.

A report by Labour's Leonie Cooper claims the city's loss of green space, growing population and ageing water pipes are putting the capital at an increased risk of flooding and drought.

There were 26,082 burst pipes between 2015 and February 2019.

Regulator Ofwat said next month it would publish its own assessment of plans to stop leakages.

Ms Cooper, deputy chair of London's environment committee, urged the mayor of London to encourage water companies to "up their game" and crack down on leaks.

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said the mayor was "already holding London water companies to account", and he had "repeatedly called on them to improve leakage targets".

The report, entitled "Running out or Flooded out?", says Londoners are estimated to use on average 149 litres of water per person per day, 5% higher than the national average.

A spokeswoman for Ofwat said it was "pushing" all water companies to "deliver for their customers and the environment".

Following warnings that the South East of England could run out of water in the next 25 years, Ms Cooper also urged Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to raise awareness amongst Londoners about how they could save water.

"The capital's changing, and increasingly extreme, climate has put London's water supply under pressure in recent years, with aging pipes unable to cope", Ms Cooper said.

"London's growing population is also putting pressure onto the capital's sewerage system, causing pollution to be leaked into the River Thames and burst pipes."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Within 25 years England will not have enough water to meet demand, the head of the Environment Agency is warning

Thames Water has warned that a severe drought could cost London's economy £330m per day.

Ms Cooper proposed that the construction of a reservoir at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, which would create extra storage for millions of litres of water for London, be accelerated to 2035 - two years sooner than planned.

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