Huge scale of water leaks exposes a broken private model

Rather than describing the 1tn litres of water lost to leaks last year in terms of Olympic swimming pools (Report, 19 August), why not relate it to usage? The lost 1tn litres is equivalent to the total annual water consumption of 18 million people – 30% of the population of England and Wales. Apart from the social and environmental implications, this should give water company shareholders pause for thought. Any other business that was letting around a quarter of its finished product go to waste instead of selling it would be facing serious questions about its management, not paying big executive bonuses.

Toby Morse


• It is revealing that water companies have paid out £72bn in dividends while taking on debt of more than £50bn (Water company CEOs try to woo me, but I’ve got only one message for them: do your jobs, 20 August). Simple arithmetic suggests that if they were in public ownership and charging the same rates, they would have had £22bn extra to invest in infrastructure and no need to borrow. Did they borrow in order to pay juicy dividends?


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