Interruptions to your water supply

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

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

Planned interruptions to your water supply

If there's a planned interruption to your water supply lasting more than 4 hours, your water company must give you 48 hours written notice. It must restore the supply by the time stated in the notice.

If the supply isn't restored by the time stated in the notice, you're usually entitled to compensation of £20.

You're 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're entitled to an extra £20.

Emergency interruptions to your water supply

If your water supply is interrupted by an emergency, such as a burst main water pipe, your water company must restore the supply within 12 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 your water supply isn't restored on time

You're usually entitled to compensation of:

  • £20 for the first 24 hours

  • £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

Your water company should provide an alternative supply - for example, bottled water or bowsers (tankers in the street).

If you need a constant water supply for medical reasons

You should contact your water company and ask to be added to their 'priority services' list - for example if you’re on dialysis or using a feeding pump.

You could also get priority services if you:

  • are disabled or have a long-term health condition

  • have reached your State Pension age

  • have mental health problems

  • are deaf or hearing impaired or have a visual impairment

  • are going through a difficult time - for example if someone close to you has died or you’ve lost your job

Check if you can sign up to your water company’s priority services list on their website.

You can read more about priority services on the CCW website

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 might not get compensation if the supply isn't restored because of:

  • exceptional weather conditions

  • industrial action by the water company's employees

If you need to contact your water company

You can check which water company supplies your area on the CCW website.

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020