Of all the things to consider stealing, water probably isn’t at the top of most people’s lists – but it’s become such a problem that supplier Thames Water is now cracking down on anyone connecting to the pipe network and taking water.
This is an important step for the company to take, since any water that’s unaccounted for is considered leakage in the performance tables produced at the end of each year
A team of investigators, based in Pimlico, are now making their way around London and the Thames Valley to find any of these criminals and prosecute them after a big spike in this particular crime was identified. In the last six years, in fact, illegal connections have climbed from 33 in 2011 to 734 in 2017
Stuart Orchid, former Surrey Police detective, commented, saying: “We’re not out to get people, but it’s against the law to find our water mains and illegally connect to our network
“Thousands of litres of drinking water are lost every day. Therefore, to help protect water supplies for future generations and gain a greater control of our network, it’s vitally important we find and stop the people doing this. I would encourage anyone who thinks there might be suspicious water usage taking place near them to join this fight against water crime and contact us immediately.”
This is certainly not an isolated incident – and water theft is also certainly not just a UK issue but a global one as well. And it’s possible that it may become even more commonplace in the future as water scarcity becomes more problematic in the face of climate change and drought conditions
In California, for example, large amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in 2016, with the Associated Press reporting at the time that a state investigation had to be launched. Homeowners were issued fines for allegedly taking water from a canal, while thieves in North San Juan also made off with hundreds of gallons of water, this time from a fire department tank.
We blogged just a few days ago that the UK itself may well find itself short of water this summer, with suppliers such as Southern Water already taking steps now to avoid having to bring in a hosepipe ban when the warmer months do finally arrive
As such, instead of stealing water and facing a possible prosecution, you’d be wise to see how you as a business can conserve water now. There is a lot you can do, such as investing in UK rainwater harvesting systems, which work by storing the rainwater that collects on your roof and then filtering it for reuse elsewhere in your company.
Prioritising investment in eco-friendly products is also a good idea. While you may have to shell out at first, your investment will pay for itself in the long run through the reduction of your energy bills