Thames Water on Wednesday announced its plan to prevent water shortages in the future and put a stop to hosepipe bans and other water restrictions.

The company, which is the UK's largest water supplier, said that its new Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) would allow it to cope with increased pressure on water supplies from population growth, climate change and higher demand.

Much of Thames Water's supply area of 8,000 sq km has been classed by the Environment Agency as seriously water stressed. Thames Water said that customers in London, Swindon, North and South Oxfordshire were at particular risk of water restrictions.

David Owens, chief executive of Thames Water, said, The long and difficult drought we experienced in 2005 and 2006 brought home to all of us that we cannot be complacent about our water supplies. London actually gets less rainfall than Rome, Dallas or Istanbul, and only about half as much as Sydney. We're working hard to reduce the risk of hosepipe bans or more severe restrictions, and making plans now to ensure that we are able to provide enough water to meet future needs.

A big part of our plans will be focused on continuing to reduce leakage. We've been successful in the last two years, bringing leakage down to within the targets agreed with Ofwat, but both our customers and we know we can and must do more.

We have been getting the views of our stakeholders, regulators and customers for some time now, with a wide-ranging consultation on Taking Care of Water, our Strategic Direction Statement, which sets out our overall priorities for the next 25 years.