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Yorkshire Water to hire 50 leak inspectors as part of performance raising pledge

Yorkshire Water says 50 leak inspectors will be among 300 new jobs as it pledges to make dramatic reductions in water escapes, supply interruptions and sewage pollution incidents.
Yorkshire Water says 50 leak inspectors will be among 300 new jobs as it pledges to make dramatic reductions in water escapes, supply interruptions and sewage pollution incidents.

Yorkshire Water says 50 leak inspectors will be among 300 new jobs as it pledges to make dramatic reductions in water escapes, supply interruptions and sewage pollution incidents.

Yorkshire Water says the jobs are part of a multi-million pound package aimed at raising its performance compared with other water firms and will also include engineers, sewer technicians, data scientists and analysts, both internally and with its contract partners.

The firm has pledged that by 2020 it will reduce sewage escapes causing pollution by 40 per cent, incidents resulting in internal sewer flooding by 70 per cent and the average interruption to water supply by two-thirds.

Yorkshire Water said it also planning a substantial investment in new technology to improve the management of both its sewer and water networks.

Part of this will be a new team of data scientists tasked with triangulating leak and other data across the firm's huge area of operation to make its reaction more efficient.

The company said it is also considering adopting an industry-first 'open data' approach, allowing Yorkshire-based independent data scientists to help find 'new and innovative solutions to pollution and leakage problems".

Pamela Doherty, director of service delivery at Yorkshire Water said: "We've spent a lot of time talking to our customers and now really understand their diverse needs and how water impacts on their lives.

"They want us to lose less water in leaks, minimise interruptions to their supply and reduce sewage escapes from our system.

Above all, they don't like the idea that a Yorkshire company isn't currently one of the best in its sector."

She said: " Based on this feedback, we've taken the decision to make a substantial investment in new staff, new skills and new technology. Over the next two years, this investment and our determination to deliver will put us alongside the best in the industry. Our plans combine intensive use of traditional engineering skills with some innovative applications of new data led techniques.

"Because we're investing in ways to improve our productivity, this means we can deliver improved service without increases to customer bills beyond inflation."

Yorkshire Water, which is owned by the Kelda Group, has committed to fix leaks for free in supply pipes which lie within the boundary of a customer's property and will be installing a round 15,000 'acoustic ears' at key points of the network.

These listen to the flow of water and detect leaks within just three hours rather than the current average of three days. A further 8,000 devices will be installed on the sewer network, it said.

The firm, which currently employs around 2,500 staff, said it will also be using drones and satellite imaging to improve the detection of underground leaks.

Andrea Cook, chair of the Yorkshire Forum for Water Customers, said: "It is what its customers expect, and what they deserve. I am sure they will welcome total investment which is also supported by shareholders."