Help and advice

Dealing with leaks

Dealing with leaks

Did you know we supply water to 794,000 properties in Essex & Suffolk, and water and sewerage services to 1.3 million properties in the North?

We operate:

55 water treatment works
303 water pumping stations
326 water service reservoirs
25,678.3 km of water mains

Every day we supply 1,104 megalitres (1.1 billion litres) of water.

How much is a megalitre?

Water is measured in cubic metres (m3): One cubic metre is 1,000 litres. One megalitre is 1 million litres or 1,000 cubic metres. It would take 2.5ML to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool.

We have a duty to all our customers and to the environment to promote the wise use of water and to find and repair leaks as quickly as possible. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Keeping water in the pipes

A leaking pipe is a waste of a precious resource.¬† Therefore we now repair - free of charge - many leaks on customers’ pipes. To check if you are eligible for a free repair please view the ′Dealing with leaks′ PDF leaflet below.

If you spot a leak in the street, don’t just ignore it – report it on our leakline 0800 393 084 or complete our online form if non urgent.

The short video below explains how to locate and test for leaks between your meter and internal stop tap.

How do I identify if I have a leak on my private supply pipe?

Things to look for:

• Wet or damp patches.
• An increase in your water usage (metered customers).
• Noise on your pipes.
• A reduction in water pressure.

What happens after you have reported a leak?

ON A PUBLIC HIGHWAY - we check the area and if a leak is found we mark it in blue for repair.

ON PRIVATE GROUND – we attend by appointment to help locate the leak and give you advice on whether this qualifies for a free repair or if this is home owners’ responsibility.

• If no leak is found, for example the water is ground water, we’ll call you back to let you know.

How do we prioritise repairs?

We look at the following:

• Is it causing a loss of supply?
• Is it causing an imminent risk to property?
• Is it in a dangerous location i.e. middle of carriageway causing risk to road users?

If the answer to any of the above is yes then the leak would be repaired the same day. If not we work with the land owner (customer or council) to arrange a suitable time for repair.

How long does reinstatement take?

• Up to 20 working days for private ground.
• Up to 7 working days for public highway (the pavement or road).

Other things we think about before carrying out a repair

• Traffic management.
• Permission to dig from the local authority.
• The location of leak – would schools or hospitals be affected if we have to shut the water supply off?
• Time of year (council embargo).

Downloadable content

  1. thumb

    Leaking supply pipe?

    Your guide to water supply leaks.


  2. thumb

    Dealing with leaks

    Our code of practice: on leakage


  3. thumb
  4. thumb

    Guidance on pipe ownership

    Sometimes it is difficult to tell who is responsible for a pipe, but we are always happy to advise you.


  5. Beat the freeze

    Essential information to help protect your property from burst pipes


Our free leak repair service

free leak repair promo  

We know how worrying leaks can be and we want to help you by carrying out repairs under our free leak repair scheme Find out more

Call 0800 393 084

to report a leak.

Priority Services

Special assistance  

We have a wide range of services designed for customers who may need extra help. Find out more

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