Calls for action after ‘serious water leaks’ in Lewes

A burst main in Denton that was left for two weeks, Lewes District Green Party said
A burst main in Denton that was left for two weeks, Lewes District Green Party said

Concerns over ‘serious water leaks’ in Lewes have been raised by the Lewes District Green Party.

There have been ongoing water issues throughout the summer in the Ouse Valley and Ringmer Ward of Lewes District, the political party said, with mains supply being disrupted for several days in some cases.

A spokesman for the party said the most recent was a significant leak that lasted two weeks, and there have been eight major leaks in the ward since May.

Sean Macleod, Lewes Green Party district councillor for South Heighton, Ringmer and Ouse Valley, said: “While we live in a day and age when our climate is changing and this impacting on the water system to cope, the present investment in upgrading infrastructure is not enough.

“In the meantime major leaks like those left to run do not give us confidence that the wastage is in hand.

“We have real serious concerns at the huge amount of water waste across the Lewes District, increasingly households are being told to use water sensibly while we continue to see leaks last weeks and weeks and sometimes months, while we are pleased that bills in 2019 will be staying the same in previous years they have risen, no doubt if leaks continue and water waste continues as it does bills will rise again.”

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Mr Macleod and councillor Johnny Denis, prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes, met with South East Water during the summer and heard how increases in the hotter weather had led to contraction of clay which, in turn, increased stress on the water mains and increased the likelihood of major leaks.

The pair said South East Water confirmed plans to upgrade the older water main in Ringmer for about £1.7million.

Mr Denis said: “While this investment is a positive move to give us a safe water supply for the coming years but, even though this is a significant investment for South East Water, it is not enough. South East Water made £86.4million in profits last year.

“They have the capacity to invest much, much more in both upgrading the ageing infrastructure and detecting and responding to leaks in a timely manner.

“The public is implored to tackle waste but South East Water’s reputation is at serious risk if it continually lags behind the level of response that people expect.”

South East Water has been approached for a comment.