Leakwatch: As water supplies plunge towards critical levels ET calls on readers to report every leak

Precious water has been leaking on to the B1043 at Sawtry for three weeks. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough ET
Precious water has been leaking on to the B1043 at Sawtry for three weeks. Photo: Rowland Hobson/Peterborough ET
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As the drought tightens its grip, conserving every drop of water is paramount, The Evening Telegraph is launching Leakwatch.

And we are urging Peterborough people to keep an eye out for water leaks near their homes, their places of work and leisure and report them immediately.

With forecasters warning of many dry months ahead, swift action to prevent water leaking away is vital.

Our action comes after the discovery of a burst water pipe on a rural road that has gone unrepaired by Anglian Water for three weeks.

That is despite the water authority imposing a hosepipe ban on thousands of households that is set to start in a week in a bid to protect our water supplies.

Over the last 12 months, Anglian Water has dealt with 24,000 leaks at a cost of £14 million across its region that stretches to Grimbsy in the north, Basildon in Essex in the south and goes from the East coast as far west as Daventry.

There have been a number of high profile water leaks in Peterborough recently and the latest leak is on the B1043 near Sawtry and has seen water spurting out onto the road for three weeks without being fixed.

It comes less than a month after a Bretton underpass was flooded for a weekend after a mains pipe burst.

Report a leak online - www.anglianwater.co.uk or call free 24/7 leakline number 0800 771 881.

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Also earlier this month it was reported a leak in Ward Close, Eastfield was not repaired from the beginning when it was first reported to the middle of March.

In January about half a dozen homes in Whittlesey were flooded after a burst water main in Kings Dyke.

The first hosepipe ban in Peterborough for more than 20 years is set to start on Thursday, 5 April, following the driest 18-month period in the region for more than a century. Anyone caught breaching the hosepipe ban could face a fine of up to £1,000

Now Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has called for Anglian Water to do more to keep on top of leaks during the drought.

He said: “I understand that they have a difficult job, because this is the driest region in the country, and Rutland Water not only serves Peterborough but also Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and parts of the Midlands.

“But people have a right to be annoyed if they are taking care with their water, and see leaks in public areas.

“Anglian Water have to redouble their efforts to deal with leaks as soon as they are reported.

“They have to make sure people know the rise in bills is seen to be used to be tackling leaks in the area.

“I will be talking with Anglian Water bosses to find out when the hosepipe ban is likely to end.”

Councillor Richard Tuplin, who represents the Sawtry ward for Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “I know the leak has been a problem for a few weeks, and thought something would have been done to fix it by now. It is not a very good message to send out to people who are saving water when water is leaking out onto the road for all this time.”

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “We have a problem with it because we are not sure where the leak is coming from in the pipe. It could be up to 200 metres away from where the water is reaching the surface.

“We have tried a number of methods of locating the leak. Now we are planning on sending a small CCTV camera through the pipe to locate the leak, which will take place in the next couple of weeks. This is the last resort we use, as the only other method available would be to dig a number of holes in the road.”

Have you got a problem with a water leak near you? Has the drought had an impact on you?

Text ‘PET NEWS’ and your message to 61500 (texts cost 25p plus standard network charge), email eteditor@peterboroughtoday.co.uk, on Twitter to @ETstephenB or use #leakwatch.

-- Report a leak online - www.anglianwater.co.uk or call free 24/7 leakline number 0800 771 881.

Find more ways to contact us at peterboroughtoday.co.uk/yoursay

Man fined for stealing stream water

A PRIVATE fishing lake owner has been fined more than £3,000 after admitting stealing water from a stream.

Private fishing lake owner Michael Yould appeared at Spalding Magistrates Court, where he pleaded guilty to abstracting water.

The court heard an estimated 806 cubic metres of water – about a third of an Olympic swimming pool – was abstracted from Blue Gowt Drain over six days in May last year, weeks before the Secretary of State declared the area in drought. Yould, who owns the Clay Lakes at Pode Hole, said he had taken water only for the trees and shrubs.

Magistrates fined him £3,300, and he was ordered to pay costs of £3,873.

Claire Corfield, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said: “It appeared to the internal drainage board member of staff who witnessed it that the water was being used to water trees and top up the lake.”