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Interruptions to your water supply

This advice applies to England

Your water company must provide a constant supply of water. Occasionally, the service may be interrupted for repairs or because of an emergency such as a burst main water pipe. When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation.

This page explains what your rights are when your water supply is interrupted and when you're entitled to compensation.

Planned interruptions to your water service

If there is a planned interruption to the water supply lasting more than four hours, the company must give 48 hours written notice. It must also restore the supply by the time stated in the notice.

If the supply is not restored by the time given in the notice, you are usually entitled to compensation of £20.

You are also usually entitled to a £20 payment if you weren’t given 48 hours notice of the interruption to the supply.

If you don’t receive this compensation within 20 working days, you are entitled to a further £20 payment.

Emergency interruptions to your water service

If your water supply is interrupted by an emergency, such as a burst main water pipe, your company must restore the supply within twelve hours of becoming aware of the problem. However, if it's in a strategic main pipe, they must restore the supply within 48 hours.

Your water company must take reasonable steps as soon as possible to let you know:

  • where you can get an alternative water supply
  • when it plans to restore the supply
  • a telephone number where you can get more information.

If the supply is not restored by the time the company says it will be, you are usually entitled to compensation of £20 for the first 24 hours and £10 for each further 24 hour period the supply remains unrestored.

If you don’t receive this payment within 20 working days, you're entitled to a further £20 payment.

If the interruption lasts more than 12 hours, the company should provide an alternative supply, for example, bottled water or tankers in the street known as bowsers.

If you need a constant water supply for medical reasons, or you think you will need help if the supply goes off, you should talk to your water company. All companies keep a register of customers who may need extra helpduring supply interruptions.

When you can’t get compensation

There are some circumstances where you won't be entitled to compensation, even if  your water supply is interrupted longer than it should be. For example, you may not get compensation if the supply is not restored because of exceptional weather conditions or because of industrial action by the water company's employees.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • To find out which water company supplies your  area, go to  the Consumer Council for Water's website at: www.ccwater.org.uk.
  • For more help with water issues, go to the Consumer Council for Water's website at: www.ccwater.org.uk.
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