Pressure valve being installed to help manage leaks

Anglian Water is waging a new war on leaks and burst mains in Peterborough with a half a million pound scheme to save one million litres of water every single day.

The scheme is the first of its kind in the East of England and will drive leakage down further than ever before by managing the underground pipe network differently.

Around 55,000 homes and businesses in and around the city stand to benefit from fewer bursts and leaks, which reduces the likelihood of customers being left without water or with low pressure.

Anglian Water already has an industry-leading leakage record but it estimates that by varying the pressure in its network throughout the day, the project will cut the number of bursts by a quarter, reduce other leaks by 60 per cent and in total, and save one million litres of water every day - the equivalent of 12,500 baths per day.

Paul Valleley, Anglian Water’s Director of Water Services, said: “We have always worked hard to identify and respond to leaks and bursts quickly as possible. That is good up to a point, but it doesn’t prevent them happening in the first place, whereas this new approach will.

“Customers regularly say that reducing leaks and bursts is the most important thing to them, and that is why we’re investing £60 million in our war on leakage over the next five years, to drive levels down even further and keep us ahead of the rest of the industry.

“Achieving such ambitious targets requires us to take a new approach to managing our water network. Peterborough is the flagship scheme that will pave the way for the rest of the region and make us more resilient to future droughts.”

The huge new valve installed at Etton is one of three that have been installed around the city. These will allow the water company to make very small changes to prevent pressure building up in the pipes at night, when fewer people are using water. There won’t be a change to the pressure in customers’ homes, but this night-time change will protect the water mains and reduce the chance of disruption for customers.

Paul continued: “Customers will hardly notice us installing the equipment and the adjustments won’t have any impact on the water supply coming from their taps. What they will notice in future is fewer bursts in the area which will mean fewer interruptions to their service.”

Anglian Water intends to roll-out the scheme to other towns and cities across the region over the next few years.

The leakage initiative is the third pipework project to launch in the Peterborough area this year, bringing the total invested in the local network to £2.8 million. Schemes already completed include a major lead replacement scheme for older city centre properties, and a water mains replacement scheme in nearby Whittlesey which started in January.