|Thames Water to replace Victorian water mains|
10-month project will bring inevitable disruption to Chiswick
Thames Water is to carry out a £500 million of work to replace London’s oldest and leakiest water mains beginning in March 2006 with a 10-month project to replace 24km of water pipes in an area roughly bounded by Chiswick Lane, Chiswick High Road, King Street, Fulham Palace Road and the River Thames.
Thames Water engineers will be focusing primarily on areas where leakage is highest and replacing whole areas of pipework with new, more flexible plastic pipes. There will of course be unavoidable disruption to the local water supply and traffic, however Thames Water state that they are working closely with local police and the council to deal with this in the most efficient way.
Half of London's water mains are over 100 years old, while a third have been in use for more than 150 years. As a result of modern day stresses of the capital's traffic, the ageing cast iron mains beneath the roads suffer from repeated bursts. Each burst water main causes wide spread disruption and inconvenience to drivers and local residents.
Thames Water's announcement follows the recent news that parts of south-east England are currently facing a "serious situation" regarding water shortages.
Trevor Bishop of the Environment Agency stated that water companies should take immediate action by introducing hosepipe bans and combating leaks, warning that extreme water-saving measures may become necessary.
He said "We have now had two particularly dry winters in a row, which means that the resources we rely on are at a very low level. In fact, they are at the lowest they have been since 1920, and they are considerably worse in some parts than they were in 1976, so the outlook for the summer is quite serious."
His sentiments are echoed by Environment Agency Chief Executive Barbara Young who believes that water companies and individuals must act now to prevent a crisis and, by way of example, suppliers such as Thames Water must address the problem of leaks in pipes.
March 1, 2006