Can you spot the water leak in this photo?

I’ve been trying to be helpful, pointing out a long-running leak to Thames Water.

It’s been going for weeks. To add some aggravation, it is right next to where Thames Water has been digging up a road for other work. I had assumed that the leak would be sorted as part of the work, but no – the work is now winding up, the holes filled back in, the barriers removed, Thames Water moving on, but the leak was left behind, still flowing away. Week after week, its contractors or staff have been turning up to that site, seeing the leek less than one metre away and, judging by the fact that the leak is still going, doing nothing about it.

So I’ve now tried reporting the leak to Thames Water. Four times they sent someone out to the site and said they couldn’t find it.

See if you can do better:

Finally, the person who made the fourth visit returned to the site and, at the the fifth attempt, confirmed they found the leak and have reported it to be fixed.

Along the way, Thames Water’s administration has repeatedly stumbled:

  • After the first failed attempt to find the leak, Thames Water marked the issue as closed, no further action needed.
  • When doing that, Thames Water told me that if there was still a problem, I would have to lodge a new report with them. But they gave me the wrong phone number to do so. (The message was left with me on a Sunday. The number they gave me to call wasn’t their number that is answered on Sundays but rather one that isn’t.)
  • After the second failed attempt to find the leak, Thames Water sent me a text message saying they had tried to get hold of me but hadn’t been able to. Yet there was no trace of such an attempt – no text message, no email (yes, I looked in my spam folder), no voicemail,, no missed call listing.
  • On two occasions when asking what has gone wrong, I’ve been told that the leak was reported under a different address from the one I’d given. Neither address was that far off – both were within 50 metres of the correct site – but it does show a general sloppiness that even when given precise house number, exact road junction, full postcode and photograph, Thames Water still somehow records a leak as being elsewhere.
  • The map on Thames Water website that says, “View all reported problems: Check our interactive map with the latest information on known incidents near you”? It’s been blank, not listing the issue at all.
  • All told, I’ve spent approaching two hours on the phone to Thames Water.

All the above are in different ways minor issues. I’m not the victim of flooding and even when stuck on phone on hold, I’ve been able to do more productive things. They do however add up to a picture of a leak reporting service that is a mess.

Long-term readers of this blog and my social media will know this is nothing new. That’s a regular experience with Thames Water, even when the leaks are much more serious. No mystery locked room involved this time, alas.

One possible cause for hope, however. During one previous ludicrously-protracted leek saga I was told that the Thames Water CEO ‘doesn’t do leaks’. There is now a new CEO. Let’s hope she sets a better example and higher standard.

UPDATE: Good news: there is now blue paint around the leak (which confirms someone from Thames Water
has turned up and found the leak at the fifth attempt). Bad news: the promised call back about my complaint over the handling of all this hasn’t happened and it now looks like the complaint has not been properly recorded.

One response to “Can you spot the water leak in this photo?”

  1. I had a similar problem with leaks in two locations outside my house two years ago. Repeatedly TW dug up the wrong location. I eventually sent a lengthy email to the then CEO of Thames Water. Effectively, I was given my own personal contact in his office who would phone me every two weeks with an update. In spite of this, from the first on-line report to final completion of the works (some of which involved temporary lights and a large hole in the road), it took in excess of ten months to solve the problems. One location was dug up three times until my suggestion they dig where the water was coming through the pavement was acted on (I was correct) and the other location dug up twice. All using private contractors. The cost (let alone the waste of water) must have been enormous but, to be fair, the CEO and his assistant who called me did react even if the investigations were horribly protracted and botched.

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