The United Kingdom is filled with old, leaky water pipes, some of which are the same ones that have been there since the 1800s. And now, the old, above-ground water systems in the United Kingdom continue to lose the country a lot of water.
In 2006, over 3.5 million litres were lost every day in England and Wales, and the issue is not being resolved. Corrosion-club.com lists a few water losses in the UK. According to Marq de Villiers' "Water," published in 1999, London is losing 50% of its water due to leaky pipes. Though this is an old study, not much has changed. Currently, Thames Water, one of the United Kingdom's biggest water utilities, is losing 26% of its water, according to The Metro.
According to Portsmouthwater.co.uk, 32 million litres per day are lost in Portsmouth, which has pipes dating back to 1809. A 2007 article from the Weekly Telegraph claims that the UK in total loses 3.42 litres per day, which is the equivalent of nearly 2 baths/home per day. A 2012 article in The Guardian shows some more statistics:
The four biggest English water utilities are Severn Trent, which loses 27% of its water; Thames Water and United Utilities (the supplier to northwest England), which are each losing 26%; and Yorkshire Water, which is losing 25%.
The 26% that Thames Water (which supplies London) is losing is equivalent to 200 litres per customer per day.
Thankfully, the water that gets lost due to leaky pipes is not truly lost. Instead, it gets drawn out again from the ground eventually. What is lost instead is all of the investment into treating that water, that then has to be treated again, which costs the water companies -and their customers- more money. According to a BBC News report, millions of pounds have been spent to treat water that had already leaked through broken pipes.
Though the industry is working hard to replace damaged pipes, a more long-term solution would be more ideal and save more water. The problems with the leaky pipes in the UK can be fixed if a different water system is implemented. Because the pipes are above-ground, they are more prone to breaking and leaking. Investing in a better pipeline may be in England's best interests, but, torn between needing to conserve water and wanting to keep the costs down, the government is making little effort to change this. Companies like Lagan Plant are investing time and resources to help resolve this age-old issue.