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Hosepipe bans come into effect

Hosepipe bans in parts of drought hit Britain have come into force since midnight. Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East are to enforce restrictions.

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Water companies leak 'over 3.3 billion litres a day'

Water companies across England and Wales leaked more than 3.3 billion litres of water a day in 2010/11, according to Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry.

The Environment Agency has urged companies to do more to tackle leakage rates.

Anglican and Southern were among the companies to fail to meet their water leakage targets last year.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water sustainability director, defended his company:

They are not obscene, they are high, partly a consequence of very old pipes, 20% of London's water pipes are over 150 years old.

With this ban we would expect to see up to 150 million litres of water a day saved.

To get the same saving from replacing leaky pipes would cost £1.2 billion and take 10 years so we have to be practical about this.

– Richard Aylard, Thames Water

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