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No Hosepipe Then?

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Nigel R19/07/2018 09:24:47
1969 forum posts
366 photos

The 'loading with debt' thing is just a tax dodge.

As for fixing leaks. I'm guessing it is really rather expensive to keep digging up the ground to fix an inherited and very old network of pipes.

Probably there is a budget to do these repair jobs and the company concentrates on firefighting the worst leaks that are currently getting them penalties.

As for the rest, simple sum, if cost of repair is larger than fines over X period of time, then pay fine.

Jason Inskip19/07/2018 11:30:57
34 forum posts
24 photos

Dont get me started on Useless Utilities.

I spent much time and money this spring re-seeding and repairing my lawn - and why I hear you ask? Well last winter it rained that darn much, my lawn was pretty much under water for about 4 months. Thus the grass & roots went rotten and died. So this spring, a massive undertaking removing dead grass, top-dressing, aeriating, reseeding, netting off (to keep those pigeons at bay) and watering. My lawn has just started to look nice again, and guess what - a hosepipe ban. Where did all that winter water go Mr UU?

Additionaly, our town has been gridlocked for several months this year - due to road closures caused by burst water mains. Even our main dual carriageway has had to be completely closed twice this year alone because of water leaks.

On top of all that, our water rates are astronomical!

Time to install a massive underground water collection tank and go off grid me thinks.........

Chris Walby19/07/2018 12:38:02
691 forum posts
128 photos


Just go for your own borehole!


Just a snippet from the web page:

Q - Can anybody have a borehole?

Anyone who has a garden or a piece of land can have a borehole if there is water somewhere beneath it!

Q - Do you need an abstraction licence or planning permission?

No permission or licence is required for anyone who wishes to extract up to 20,000 litres per day, this is in accordance with the Water Act of 2003. If your usage is more than this every day then you will need to apply for an abstraction licence, Well Drilling UK Ltd can help you to apply for this licence if required, please see **LINK**

There you go, problem solved

PS we use one at work to top our lake up,,,much better for the fish that the 60% recycled chemical stuff that comes out of the pipe wink


Edited By Chris Walby on 19/07/2018 12:40:47

Percy Verance19/07/2018 13:46:59
7102 forum posts
142 photos

If only it were that simple or straightforward Chris. Through the course of some of my work I have come into contact with staff from our local Environmental Health Department, one of whom had the specific task of testing the water from private boreholes and water supplies. Seemingly it is not permitted to simply sink a borehole and start drinking and washing etc. No, you have to have your supply tested every so often. The charge for this can be anything from £300+.........and if I remember correctly, you have to have approved filtering/sterilistation equipment too.

Percy Verance19/07/2018 13:53:28
7102 forum posts
142 photos

I hadn't heard that one Tom. There was a weighted down job in Coniston Water a few years back, but they got to the bottom of that one farly quickly. It seems the guilty party - the husband - had used a type of rock particular to his locality..........I understand he topped himself once the law latched onto him.

Jason Inskip19/07/2018 21:27:34
34 forum posts
24 photos
Posted by Chris Walby on 19/07/2018 12:38:02:


Just go for your own borehole!

No permission or licence is required for anyone who wishes to extract up to 20,000 litres per day,

There you go, problem solved

Edited By Chris Walby on 19/07/2018 12:40:47

Thanks! 20,000 litres per day should just about do it! (even allowing for the time my teenage daughter spends in the shower).....

PatMc19/07/2018 22:05:16
3928 forum posts
492 photos
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 19/07/2018 07:26:02:

There was a popular film around when I was a lad 40s/50s, called 'The Last Days of Dolwyn' about the building of a new reservoir and the flooding of the said village.

Thirlmere, last time the water was low, they found a woman's body, who had been murdered and then dropped from a plane in a weighted sack by her husband.

Edited By Tom Sharp 2 on 19/07/2018 07:27:39

I don't think there was ever a body dropped from a plane into Thirlmere or any of the lakes.
There was woman's body found in Coniston that Percy refered to, her body was weighted & dumped from a boat.
There was also a woman's body found in Wastwater. She was identified by her wedding ring and her husband easily traced to his home in Surrey, He was or had been an airline pilot, she had been a stewardess but her body was dropped into the lake from a dingy not a plane. Verdict in the court case was manslaughter.

Percy Verance19/07/2018 22:15:05
7102 forum posts
142 photos


Don't lose sight of the fact that private water supplies can (and do) dry up, so you would need to retain a connection to a water company just in case.....

And switching off the shower at the fusebox will get your daughter out of the bathroom fairly pronto..........


As I recall there were two particular things which gave the police clues regarding the body in Coniston Water murder. The knots used to tie up the sheets used to wrap the said body were of a type used by someone who is familiar with boats and ropes etc. And as I mentioned earlier, the rocks used to weight the body were of a type not found in the Lake District..........

I rather think it might be difficult to drop a body into a lake from a plane in the Lake District without being noticed. If you wanted to be certain of hitting the deeeper part of the lake you'd need to fly low to do it. Given the height of the surrounding hills and mountains, it certainly wouldn't be easy. And in the daytime you'd be exceptionally lucky not to be spotted dumping something from a plane. And at night? Well good luck there........

Edited By Percy Verance on 19/07/2018 22:50:19

Tom Sharp 219/07/2018 23:24:14
3248 forum posts
17 photos

If my memory serves me right, the body I referred to was dropped into the lake but dropped on a ledge at half depth. This ledge had been created for construction traffic to enter and exit the lake area before flooding.

Then again I could be wrong and it could all be a figment of my imagination.

Percy Verance20/07/2018 07:36:19
7102 forum posts
142 photos

Having slept on it Tom, I do vaguely recall the incident now. As pointed out earlier, I think it was done from a boat. I certainly wouldn't want to attempt to get low enough in a plane to drop something into Thirlmere with any degree of accuracy. It's surrounded by heavily wooded steep slopes on almost all sides. There is a minor access road round it, which is presumably where/how a small boat might be launched.

FilmBuff20/07/2018 09:46:02
211 forum posts
28 photos

United Utilities serves a wet and mountainous region. So they have lots of water and do not need lots of water towers or pumping stations to move it around and maintain pressure.

As a result, low leakage is not a business priority for them - normally.

In my region - Anglian Water - it's the opposite. Low rainfall and flat. Leakage is a #1 priority. The flat land also means slow moving rivers with low levels of oxygen, so the water that is put back in rivers must be really, really well treated to avoid environmental impact.

In most regions - there is plenty of water in the reservoirs and aquafiers. It's the keeping up with demand that is the issue. Water treatment works cannot treat the water quickly enough to meet the supply demands.

All water companies carry massive debt. It's not a tax dodge. It's the nature of an asset intensive industry. But things are changing. Technology is enabling the networks to be smarter, moving flows and supply around the system to meet different demand patterns rather than the blunt approach of building more tanks and storage.

Nigel R20/07/2018 10:26:43
1969 forum posts
366 photos

" It's not a tax dodge."

I stand corrected.

It was certainly a tax dodge for the new owners of a company I worked for some years ago, when they bought by private equity, the first thing the new owners did was to "load with debt" to reduce tax burden (the second thing they did was a round of P45s...)

Percy Verance20/07/2018 10:47:01
7102 forum posts
142 photos


That's the game United Utilities have always played FilmBuff. The odds are normally firmly stacked in their favour with above average rainfall in their area, as it masks the sheer number of leakages they have in their network. However, it takes just a couple of weeks of fine weather with little or no rain before their shortcomings in the their leak repair programme are plainly obvious ie: there are shortages of water.

It's probably safe to assume that the pipework in other areas of the UK is of a similar age, yet other water companies seem to be able to cope with dry spells and keep their leakage repair programmes on track.

United Utilities, the BBC/British Leyland of water companies.......

Don Fry20/07/2018 11:33:05
2887 forum posts
35 photos

Film Buff, the water companies are I believe, foreign owned. Between 2006 and today have paid in excess of 18 billion pounds in dividends. Most pay little or no corporation tax. CEO pay is between 1 to 3 million pounds a year. Water bill have in the same period advanced at a greater than inflation rate.

Their corporate governance is currently under close watch from the government because their greed can no longer be overlooked.

And when the companies came into existence in 1989, they were basically given away, with the government retaining all their debts. By the by, the massive debts did not come into existence until the ownership transferred to offshore bases.

We have heard before the pious bleat of corporate speak "we pay all taxes due". Bottom line, I believe, if you want to be a member of a club, you pay the club fees. The water companies don't.

Robert Cracknell20/07/2018 12:17:33
122 forum posts
2 photos

Maybe if the water companies put a little bit of their massive profits into solar powered desalination plants as they have done in the middle east it would help ease the situation.

Also why don't we talk to the Israelis - they had a plan to 'Make the desert bloom' and it worked. I had a friend who worked on a Kibbutz in the desert harvesting fruit and flowers.

I have a little bit of sympathy for the water companies through. I once heard an anecdote (I'll call it that because I cannot verify it) about a water company that applied for planning permission to build a reservoir. The list of objecting organisations was so long that the inevitable public enquiry would have gone on for years. Didn't happen! In this case when they try to plan for the future red tape always blocks the way.

It's a bit like all those people who fly away on holiday but vehemently object to any nearby airport development.

NIMBY I think they call it.....

Edited By Robert Cracknell on 20/07/2018 12:24:36

FilmBuff20/07/2018 13:31:15
211 forum posts
28 photos

I am not an apologist for the water companies and agree that the idea of citizen shareholders has long given way to foreign investment and pension fund ownership. They give a nice risk free 3-4% return for investors - just the thing I'd look for if I was managing a fund. And of course the avoidance of corporation tax and CEO pay is right to be called out.

I am a contractor working for a water company and we are delivering a large scale digital and customer experience transformation. The writing is on the wall for the next five year AMP (Asset Management Period) that starts in Apr 2020. OFWAT is likely to call for five years of decreasing (allowing for inflation) residential bills and increases to supply, quality and customer satisfaction KPIs. Suddenly the equation changes. They will not be able to afford to just keep on building new tanks and storage and relying on shiny new assets.

Business is often simple. They will face year on year declines in revenue for the next five years, whilst still having to deliver on quality and satisfaction. If you were the owners - what would be your strategy?

john stones 120/07/2018 15:11:42
10036 forum posts
1472 photos

Trickle down economics, some stuff their wallets, your water trickles out yer tap.

Don Fry20/07/2018 15:12:08
2887 forum posts
35 photos

If I were the owners, I would continue to lobby governments to eviscerate OFWAT. I continue to try to pull the wool over OFWOT's eyes. I would continue to lobby the EU to allow tax to be paid in whatever state chooses to follow a beggar thy neibour tax strategy. 3 to 4 % return on capitol, decade after decade on a risk fee monopoly is a nice little legal robbery. I would continue to fight for it.

But I am not the owner. I am the part of the club paying my club fees.

PS, I love that phrase "digital and customer experience transformation." I hope it does not involve random computer generated water shut offs, recorded on solid state cameras.

Fatscoleymo20/07/2018 16:14:04
240 forum posts
86 photos

Don, you live in France.....which club are you in?

Maybe you're still paying the water bill on your house in the Uk? Or is that your tenant?

Don Fry20/07/2018 16:27:12
2887 forum posts
35 photos

Pay my taxes, to two governments, honestly, according to the terms of the double taxation treaty. Vote when I am able. Give my MP as hard a time as I am able. That gives me an entitlement to moan.

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