Spotted a leak out and about?
No matter how big or small - if you spot a leak, let us know.
If you are without water because of a leak, or your request is urgent, don’t wait, call our free leak helpline on 08005 878 979 (You may be charged for this call from a mobile.)
From the moment you report a leak there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, our teams work around the clock to find and fix leaks. They can be up in the small hours repairing leaks on busy main roads, or they could be baking under the summer sun as they stand knee-high in gushing water.
There are 5 steps to the process of finding and fixing leaks. Some of these steps involve co-ordinating our work with local councils and highways. As you can imagine, this can take time which means we can't fix some leaks as quickly as we would like.
We’re fixing more leaks than ever before and quicker too, with all identified leaks fixed in 3.6 days on average.
Click the stages below for more information:
- 1. Report
- 2. Detect
- 3. Plan
- 4. Fix
- 5. Reinstate
A leak is reported
- You can report a leak on our website, by WhatsApp, on Social Media or by calling 0800 230 0561 and speaking to one of our friendly team
- We’ll try to gather as much information as possible from you to help us locate the leak as quickly as possible and to understand the severity of the leak. We’ll then pass the details to our leakage team
- If the leak is affecting customers supplies or is causing damage or flooding, our inspector will attend within 3 hours
- Our inspectors will attend all other leaks by the end of the next working day
- Our field teams are also out and about looking for leaks every day.
- Our team of field inspectors will investigate and find exactly where the leak is coming from and the severity of the leak
- You might see us with listening devices. Water moves around and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the leak is coming from
- It is rare that we can repair the leak on our initial detection visit. If the leak is directly from the meter chamber or stop tap this could be done, however most leaks require excavations to repair
- During the detection visit the inspector will survey for the works, details of location, traffic management, pipe sizes and materials, volume of leak, reinstatement type and materials and also any damage being caused or risk to supply interruptions
- We’ll mark the area with blue paint so our repair team know where to dig to fix the pipe.
We plan the repair
- Depending on what our inspectors find, we’ll develop a plan and set a date to get the leak repaired
- We aim to repair significant leaks or leaks that are causing damage within 8 hours
- Leaks of a higher volume that are not causing immediate issues will be repaired within 2 working days
- We also aim to repair all of our smaller low volume leaks within 7 working days
- On average our leaks are repaired within 3.6 days
- We’ll assess the impact to customers. If the pipe serves hundreds, or thousands, of customers we'll need to create a plan which minimises interruption when we turn off the water to carry out repairs. This might mean we need to use water from another part of our pipe network and tanker into the area. Tankering is when we use our Alternative Water Supply vehicles and pump water into the system to keep the network flowing whilst we carry out repairs
- We often need to work with the local Highways Agency who have to grant us permission to work on the road, and we'll need to balance the urgency of our work with the impact on others who use the road. In an emergency this will be within hours, for non emergencies this may take up to 12 weeks
- Often roads have embargoes on them, for example we aren’t allowed on the Tour of Britain cycle route for some months prior to the event, unless there's an emergency. This is also often the case for traffic sensitive routes during peak periods
- We will of course always ensure the safety of the team who will be completing the repair and of the general public.
We repair the leak
- Our teams will attend on the allocated day to repair the leak
- We’ll always aim to repair the leak without turning off the supply, however sometimes this isn’t possible, but rest assured we’ll get the water back on as soon as we can
- Once the repair is completed, we’ll fill in the hole and permanently repair the road or pavement
- If another incident comes up that needs an emergency repair, our team may be called off the job to sort it out, and we’ll be back to complete the repair as soon as we can.
Completing the job
- In most cases we can put the area back to how it was by the end of the next working day including grass, gravel, pavements and the removal of any barriers or traffic management systems
- On some occasions it may take longer to reinstate the area as this is governed by the road opening license, however this will depend on road type, size of diversion and traffic management. This will generally incorporate road or surface type, some surfaces need longer cooling or setting time before they can be reopened. Larger excavations will require more time to settle as backfilling is required to prevent sinkage. Also, access to the site, size of digger and vehicles to be able to backfill and finish, overhead cables will also hinder this. An assessment of all of this will be factored in when applying for the road opening license
- We will always aim to reinstate as soon as possible and with the least disruption but we must also ensure the safety of the team and of the general public.
Frequently asked questions
Who pays for the leak repair?
The responsibility of the leak repair will depend on where the leak is located. If the leak is on our service pipes then we are responsible for fixing and covering the cost of any repairs.
If the leak is on your own supply pipe then the homeowner is responsible for getting the leak fixed, although we may be able to help cover the cost of repair.
There’s more information here on who is responsible for which pipes and how we can help you with a leak.
If you share a water supply with your neighbours, we’d recommend talking to them so that you can work together to get it fixed.
Can I get help with the cost of fixing my leak?
We may be able to help you with the cost if you have had to repair or replace your own supply pipe because of a leak.
Full details along with our terms and conditions can be found in our Code of practice on leakage for household customers
Just complete our form to check if you qualify for a contribution of up to £200+VAT following a complete renewal of the service pipe.
If you’re on a meter, we may also be able to help cover the cost of any water lost because of a leak. You can apply by completing our simple leak/bill allowance application form and we will do our best to help.
Should my landlord pay for the leak repair?
Your landlord is usually responsible for most repairs in your home. This applies to private landlords, councils and housing associations and they should therefore be responsible for the cost of any leak.
If you’re a tenant and find a leak, you should advise your landlord immediately, so that a repair can be arranged. You can let us know by completing our form so that we can see how we might be able to help cover the cost of any water lost because of a leak.
If you’ve already told us about a leak and have received our leak pack in the post, please pass this to your landlord to complete, so that they can work with us to get it fixed.
How long does it take to repair a leak?
Once we know about a leak on our pipework, our leakage technicians will investigate where the water is coming from and arrange for the pipes to be fixed.
We aim to attend leaks that are causing damage or affecting water supplies within 24 hours. For all other leaks we aim to attend within 3 working days.
We are committed to repair leaks as quickly as we can but sometimes we may need permission from the council to work in the road, meaning that our repair times can take a little longer, up to 3 weeks.
How do I check for a leak on my unmetered supply?
If you do not have a water meter you’ll need to look for signs of a leak which could include:
- Damp patches within your home or driveway
- Mould on ceilings and walls
- A hissing or knocking noise coming from the pipes in your home
If you think you have a leak inside your property, let us know by completing our leak form so that we can see how we might be able to help you with the cost of your repair.
No matter how big or how small - if you spot
a leak, let us know
Our team of leakage experts work around the clock pinpointing and fixing leaks as quickly as possible. We’re heavily investing in technology to help us use real-time data to make sure we do everything we can to find and fix leaks quicker.
We wouldn’t be able to find as many leaks and achieve one of the lowest levels for leakage in the industry without you.