180 million litres of drinking water lost to leaks daily in Flanders

Each day, 180 million litres of drinking water are lost as a result of leaks in the water supply system in the north of Belgium, Flemish parliamentarian Rob Beenders said on Tuesday, quoting a report by Aquaflanders, which groups companies involved in water supply and sanitation in Flanders.

The loss totals 280 million euros per year, which the utilities transfer to consumers’ water bills, he said.

Pipelines lose on average 2,900 litres of potable water per kilometer each day in Flanders. The least performing distribution companies lose 7,500 litres of water per kilometre, 6,000 litres more than the most water-efficient one. Beenders called on Environment Minister Joke Schauvliege (Christian Democratic and Flemish, CD&V, party) to take measures. He also called for hearings to be held in parliament.

The legislator, who hails from the Socialist Party Differently (sp.a), also called for more transparency and efficiency from the sector itself. He said water supply companies are already using techniques to control water loss, but have not been forthcoming with explanations.

“The water supply companies have a mission that is not only economic, but also ecological,” Beenders said. “Aquaflanders’ report mentions each company’s action plans, but follow-up needs to be improved.”

Flanders has just over 62,000 kilometres of pipelines, managed by eight water utilities. The results for each company are not known since, in the report, they are identified by numbers not by name. The Flemish Environmental Society, VMM, deplored this, saying it did not encourage the companies to limit the leaks.

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