Water Industry News

Water Theft Won’t Pay (But Switching Your Supplier Might)

As a business, it’s understandable that you’re looking to reduce your expenses wherever possible, but resorting to water theft isn’t the way to go, as four firms recently found out.


WWT Online reported that the four businesses in question were fined a combined £18,000 after illegally tapping into hydrants operated by Thames Water using illegal standpipes.


Director of J Ffrench Jason French pleaded guilty to three offences of water theft and was ordered to pay £2,726, while the director of National Road Sweepers Ltd Munya Chiromo was ordered to pay £3,378 after appearing in court in August of last year.


Marcus Rickard, director of Centurion Power Cleaning Ltd, had to pay £4,516 after pleading guilty to three offences of water theft last year.


However, it was Adam Richardson, director of Quattro Plant Ltd, who was handed the biggest fine after pleading guilty to six offences. He was ordered to pay £7,502. The news provider noted that this is not the first time the business has been in court for stealing water. In 2019, the company was fined over £8,000 for carrying out seven similar offences.


Claire Rumens, Thames Water’s illegal connections manager, explained that the prosecutions are about far more than the business recovering money that is owed to it.


“Over the last few years, we’ve ramped up our work to find and stop illegal connections, uncovering hundreds of offences and saving millions of litres of water,” she revealed. Ms Rumens added that the company considers court action “a last resort”, but stressed that they will always prosecute repeat offenders.


In the last four years, Thames Water has recovered more than £500,000 from landowners, contractors and other parties who have illegally taken water from its hydrants.


If you want to try and reduce your water bills, rather than resorting to illegal activity you can change business water supplier to one that offers you a more favourable tariff and conditions. We can help you find the right water supplier to support your organisation.


Water theft is a bigger problem globally than you may realise. Last year, the World Economic Forum highlighted research published in the journal Nature Sustainability, which found that between 30 and 50 per cent of the world’s water supply is stolen every year.


Many of the thefts are perpetrated by those in the agricultural sector, and include using treated drinking water without paying for it as well as taking water from natural sources in breach of environmental guidelines.


Among the recommendations from the study are to introduce tougher penalties for water theft around the world, as well as using improved monitoring technology to help identify water theft where it occurs more quickly.


The report stated: “Water crises constitute a challenge for humanity. When regulators fail to understand the value of water, inadequate prescribed penalties increase the risk of theft.”