Water changes threatens Putney residents with big household bills

as Thames Water plans to reduce water pressure in SW15 up to 50%

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Wandsworth Council has informed us that they are calling on Thames Water to abandon its plans to reduce water pressure to thousands of homes and businesses in Putney.

The water company says that it intends to lower mains pressure in a number of areas in London next year, including Putney, in order to reduce water leakage problems. The cut in water pressure in Putney will amount to five metres or 0.5bar. This is equivalent to a 50 per cent drop in some areas.

The council is warning that the proposals could leave some households with big bills as they are forced to take steps to combat a sudden drop in water pressure.

People with combination boilers may need to purchase new ones as their existing ones may not have been designed to cope with lower levels of water pressure. Similarly people who have had roof or loft extensions built may find that their showers, radiators and toilets do not work properly in the upper floors. Households with roof or loft water storage tanks are also likely to be affected.

Residents of high rise blocks are also likely to experience a significant reduction in their supply and may need to have pumps fitted to ensure that water is able to reach the upper floors.

And councillors are also seeking assurances that the change will not impact on the London Fire Brigade's ability to fight fires in Putney.

Council leader Edward Lister said: "We will be doing all we can to persuade Thames Water to abandon this idea.

"If the company needs to reduce leaks, then surely it would be better for them to just get on with fixing the holes in their pipes - rather than making innocent members of the public suffer.

"Only last week Thames Water customers learned that their bills are to rise by an inflation busting 16 per cent over the next five years - so Putney residents will see their bills soaring in exchange for what is likely to be a much worse service.

"On top of that rise in prices, many Thames Water customers could be forced to pay hefty additional bills for new boilers or pumps. If this is to be the case, then the company must at the very least come up with a proper compensation package to reimburse people.

"We will be joining forces with some of the other London boroughs affected by this and lobbying MPs to try and persuade the water regulator and the Government to step in and prevent this plan proceeding."

August 12, 2004