£1,000 for a car wash?

Stat of the day: £1,000. The amount that water-abusers will have to pay from today.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The hosepipe ban is now in force across southern and eastern England. Despite the recent downpours, groundwater is dangerously low, with some rivers running completely dry. Some 20 million people will be affected by the ban and fines stand at £1,000 a pop for any infractions.

Water companies have been criticised in recent days for slapping consumers with a hosepipe ban while leakage rates soar. Thames Water, for example, the country’s biggest supplier with 8.8 million customers, tops Ofwat's first leak table of British water companies. Its leaks would fill Wembley Stadium every 36 hours. Yet more galling is that Thames Water's leak rate, at 25.7% is five times higher than the 5% that will be saved by the hosepipe ban.

The other six providers banning hosepipes from today include: Southern Water, South East Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East. These firms also have some pretty sodden leakage rates, averaging out at 17.7%.

As solutions to the drought go, the hosepipe ban's a pretty leaky strategy...

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