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We are not aware of any problems on our network.  To report an incident, please contact us on 01202 590059.

01202 590059.”  

Find and prevent leaks

Inside the building

Leaks cost money. Even a small leak, such as a dripping tap, can lead to big bills. But leaks aren’t always obvious and this information can help you find them.

If your water meter is easy to reach safely and you have read how to read your meter, this is the simplest way to see if there’s a leak on your premises:

  1. Turn off all your taps, water appliances, fittings and (if applicable) machinery.   
  2. Look at your water meter to see if any of the numbers or dials are still moving. If they are, it means water is still flowing onto your property and it could be leaking away somewhere.

The most common internal leaks include dripping taps or push-button toilets with internal overflows. To check these toilets for leaks from the cistern into the bowl, simply squirt coloured cleaner or place toilet paper at the back of the bowl and wait a few minutes. If it is washed away without flushing, the cistern is leaking.

Tips for reducing use in washrooms

If no leaks are found

If you cannot find any internal leaks and your meter is located near the street boundary, try checking for leaks in the underground supply pipe.

Internal meters

If your meter is located inside or close to a building, it will only record leaks inside the property such as leaking taps, cistern overflows or urinals flushing too frequently.

Underground supply pipe

Most premises have an underground pipe running from the boundary stopcock in the road to the first internal stopcock inside the premises. This is known as the supply pipe.

You can check for a leak in your supply pipe if your meter is located outside, near the street boundary. Provided you have easy access to it and you have read how to read your meter, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the internal stopcock inside the building.
  2. Check the numbers or dials on the meter for any movement. No movement means that no water is flowing onto your premises.
  3. If there is movement, check that the stopcock is completely off and that there is no take-off between the meter and the internal stopcock, such as an outside tap.
  4. If there is still movement, call us on 01202 590059.
  5. You can work out the size of the leak by seeing how much water is recorded in a set period of time.

If you think there is a leak

Once you have called us, we will visit you and confirm whether you have a supply pipe leak. If you do, we will try and locate it and advise you on getting it fixed. It’s often cheaper to replace and re-route the entire pipe, than to try and find the leak.

Although the supply pipe is your responsibility, we can offer you:

  • three hours’ free leakage investigation
  • an allowance for the water lost if the leak is fixed within 28 days.

See our Code of Practice on Leakage for Business and Commercial Customers for full details.

Prevent burst pipes

Burst pipes and water damage cost UK businesses millions of pounds each year. Take these simple steps to avoid burst pipes, especially if your premises are left unoccupied over Christmas and New Year:

  • Keep your plumbing well maintained and replace old pipes.
  • Make sure pipes are well insulated against the cold.
  • Find out where the main stopcock is on the property.
  • Check for signs of an increase in water usage during a cold snap – either by looking at your meter (if you can reach it easily), or with our datalogging service.

Find a plumber

When you are looking for a plumbing business, we recommend you select one which is a member of an Approved Contractors’ Scheme, such as the WaterSafe or the Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS).

Using an approved contractor will give you the following benefits:

  • Approved contractors are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and business premises. They have specific training in Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws, which enables them to ensure there should be no risk from poor installation or sub-standard materials that could cause contamination of your drinking water supply.
  • They will issue a ‘work completed’ certificate for their work, which provides a defense for property owners who are challenged by a water supplier enforcing the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.
  • For most types of plumbing work, plumbers have a legal duty to notify the water supplier before they start work and this can lead to delays. Approved contractors can carry out some work without the need to  provide advanced notification to the water supplier.
  • Approved businesses hold public and employers’ liability insurance. There is an independent complaints procedure in place to resolve any technical disputes about how the work has been carried out, should a concern arise.
  • Approved businesses will be required to put their work right if  it does not meet the requirements of the Water Fittings Regulations or Byelaws, enforced by the water supplier.
  • Approved businesses are audited to check they are complying with the rules of their Approved Contractors’ Scheme.
    Please note the individuals listed on WaterSafe are not employed by Bournemouth Water. The register has been provided to help customers find an approved plumbing business.

Your responsibility

The property owner or occupier is responsible for all the plumbing inside and outside the premises. It’s important to fix leaks quickly, not only because they waste water, but also because they may risk contaminating the water supply.

If you are responsible for the plumbing on the property and do not repair a leak, we have legal powers to repair it ourselves and charge you. In serious cases, sections 73-75 of the Water Industry Act 1991 allow us to turn off the water supply until the leak has been repaired or enter your property to repair the leak and recover the costs.


WaterSafe is an umbrella organisation bringing together thousands of qualified contractors employed by plumbing businesses from the seven existing Approved Contractors’ Schemes across the UK. 
WaterSafe aims to raise plumbing standards by helping customers find the nearest qualified plumbing and heating professionals, through their dedicated online search facility.
To search for a plumbing business near you, follow this link: 


The Water Industry Approved Plumbers’ Scheme (WIAPS) is run by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) on behalf of Bournemouth Water. This is one of the seven existing Approved Contractors’ Schemes in the UK. Not all plumbing businesses registered with WIAPS have signed up to WaterSafe, so WIAPS may have additional qualified plumbers near you.
This website also includes a list of groundworkers who are qualified to undertake work on outside water services only and other specialist workers who work within designated sectors.
Follow the link to search on the WIAPS website: 

Approved contractors' schemes

Water companies and trade associations run the seven Approved Contractors’ Schemes throughout the UK. All of these schemes are authorised as Approved Contractors’ Schemes by the local water company or the Secretary of State under the Water Fittings Regulations.
Below is a list of the seven schemes which operate across the UK.
WIAPS – England and Wales, apart from area covered by Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water and Thames Water.
Anglian Water’s A Plus – Parts of the East of England
Severn Trent Water’s WaterMark  – Parts of the Midlands and the West of England
Thames Water’s TAPS – Parts of London and the Thames river area
APHC – Across all of England and Wales
CIPHE – Across all of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
SNIPEF – Across Scotland and Northern Ireland



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