Pipework explained

We are responsible for the repair and maintenance of our water mains which carry drinking water supplies from our treatment works to your street.

Premises are supplied through a smaller pipe called a service pipe which is connected to our main. We are responsible for a section of the service pipe which is called the communication pipe and you are responsible for the other section which is called the supply pipe.

The section of service pipe which is not in the public highway is normally your responsibility (this is the supply pipe). There is usually an underground stop tap at the highway boundary within the footpath and there may also be a meter installed there. Both the stop tap and meter are our responsibility. The pipe that carries water from the stop tap into your premises is normally your responsibility.

The diagram below gives an easy guide to who is generally responsible for each section of service pipe, but not all pipes are set out in this way. For example, you may share your supply pipe with a neighbour or your supply pipe may go through adjoining land.

Pipe diagram: who owns the pipes


Dealing with leaks:

The owner or occupier of premises has a legal duty to repair leaks on supply pipes.  Under section 73 of the Water Industry Act 1991 it is an offence for the owner or occupier of premises to allow water to be wasted. If a leak is not repaired, we can serve notice under section 75 of the Act requiring you to repair the leak. If you do not carry out the repairs within the required time we have the right to enter your premises and make the repair ourselves. If we have to do this, your business will be charged the full cost of the repair work. In cases of emergency we also have the power to cut off the supply.

We do not hold records of service pipes, however we can trace your supply pipe for you. There may be a charge for this service.

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Look after your water pipes

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