Delivering a pioneering routemap for Leakage to 2050

17 Mar 2022

Water is the world’s most valued resource. In England, water leakage rates were at their lowest level in recorded history in March 2020, but there is still a great need to reduce leakage on our water networks in order to make it more sustainable and keep our taps running into the future.

In fact, the UK aims to reduce its leakage by 50% by 2050 – that’s over 500 Olympic swimming pools a day. In water industry terms that’s 1300Ml/d. This ambitious leakage target is defined by the National Infrastructure Commission's “Preparing for a drier future” document, which outlines how water supply and use should change to ensure that the nation was more resilient to drought.

In order to research and plan for how this leakage reduction will be achieved, Water UK commissioned a project research team to develop a routemap. RPS is proud to have led this team consisting of Artesia and WRc.

For the last 9 months, RPS and the project research team have been working together to produce the future leakage reduction strategy routemap which will potentially change the water industry for decades and generations to come.

The routemap outlines an adaptive pathway approach that can be used to meet the leakage targets. It also explores four potential scenarios that could additionally be used to achieve the targets. These were set out and modelled by the team, with a SWOT analysis leading to achieved leakage savings and cost information.

Now complete, the routemap was presented at the recent 22nd Leakage Conference in Birmingham by Dr. Joe Sanders of RPS. The routemap will act as an education, communication and influence tool for policy makers and delivery stakeholders in the water sector.

RPS Technical Director, Dr. Joe Sanders who led the consultancy consortium said “This report is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of a sector that impacts us all on a daily basis. The team brought together the leading experts in leakage economics, strategy and operations in the country to deliver the routemap. Thank you to all the team and the stakeholders that have contributed to the report.”

Paul Aitken, CEO, RPS, Services UK and Netherlands commented, “With this routemap, Water UK has shown its commitment to the challenge that will significantly reduce levels of leakage in this country. With this report, the UK can once again be seen as leaders in this field. We look forward to assisting the industry as it achieves these targets and celebrating the successes on the way to 2050.”

A full version of the routemap document can be found on the Water UK website www.water.org.uk.

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Dr Joe Sanders

Technical Director T: +44 7541 908 097 Email
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