I've been mostly sympathetic to Thames Water's excuses for their shocking water leakage record: London's pipes are very old and, like pretty much all previously nationalised industries, the water industry suffered woeful levels of investment before it was privatised.
Indeed, Tim Worstall claims here that leakage rates today are worse in Scotland (where the industry is still state owned).
I was reminded about water leakages when I was walking to the station on my way to work yesterday.
There was a big hole in the pavement and, as I like to do, I peered in. What I saw was a rusty old pipe that appeared to have been capped. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It looked like it was sweating. Rivulets of water were dripping from every area of the surface. It was a remarkable sight: if even a tiny percentage of London's pipes are like this, nothing short of replacing them all will get the leaks under control.
Fixing this problem isn't as simple as the Thames Water bashers would have us believe... these aren't big leaks that need to be repaired once and for all but widespread low-level drips that require a long term sustained programme of works.