How we manage incidents

We strive to provide our customers with reliable, high quality water and sewerage services. While we work hard to minimise any disruptions and flooding from our sewers, we know that incidents can occur from time to time. Our teams are trained to act quickly to resolve any problems across our water and wastewater network.

What can cause an incident? 

Burst pipes, electrical faults, valve issues, extreme weather conditions or surges in customer demand during hot weather, are all factors which can temporarily lead to a disruption to your supply. 



  • If you’re experiencing a problem with your water supply, you can check our online tool Up My Street, and if we're aware of an incident we'll keep you updated and provide you with advice on what to do. We’ll also post updates about larger incidents to X and Facebook.

    If you need to let us know about an issue we're unaware of, you can use our online tool Report a Problem or you can call us on 0345 672 3723

    Our contact centres can be extremely busy during a disruption and so we may add a recorded message onto our phone lines.

    We send free SMS, email and voice blasts notifications when there are disruptions to your water supplies. If you would like to update your personal details so we can contact you during an incident, visit MyAccount or alternatively you can call us on 0345 672 2999.

    Our registered Priority Services customers will be contacted to understand how we can help and support them during an incident. You can find out more on how we support our priority services customer during an incident here.

    In the unlikely event that your water is not to be used or we ask you to boil it before use, we will contact you by SMS, letterbox notice, social media, and through your local press with immediate advice.

  • Our engineers will investigate a problem as quickly as they can to determine what work is necessary before we begin our repairs.

    We have different ways to get your taps flowing again, specialist teams in our control centre closely monitor the production of water at our treatment works and balance supplies across our network. Where possible they will increase water production or help with rerouting supplies around our network to where it’s needed. If that's not possible, you may notice our water tankers in your area pumping extra water into our pipes.

    Our teams work 24 hours a day, and we have extra team members on standby to provide additional support when we need it. To ensure we can make the repair as quickly as possible, we have access to the necessary equipment and materials such as salt and grit, and specialised fittings.

    We also work closely with other agencies, such as local councils, as we may need to set up temporary traffic lights, road diversions or even road closures to ensure the site is safe prior to beginning our work. 

    Our employees will always try to travel in branded United Utilities vans and will wear branded uniform.  They’ll also carry an identification card to confirm that they’re a representative. If in doubt, please call us on 0345 672 3723, so that we can confirm their identity for you. 

  • If we have asked you not to use your water or you have no water for an extended period of time, we may provide bottled water through a collection point. We’ll work alongside your local council to find an appropriate location that can be easily accessed by a vehicle or by foot.

    Once we have everything safely set up, we'll let you know by email, SMS or phone and we’ll also provide information on our social media, website and to the local press.

    In 2022, customers in Blackburn and Darwin were left without water for over 24 hours and so we worked alongside the local council to find appropriate locations. Local football clubs, supermarkets and other locations were used as a point for customers to collect bottled water.

    We may deliver bottled water to our Priority Services customers who are unable to collect it themselves. This could be due to disability, age, mobility, having young children at home or needing the water for medical needs.

    If you wouldn’t be able to collect the alternative supply and require additional assistance during an incident, please register here for our Priority Services.

  • Once we've repaired the problem, we'll update our website and if we've been contacting you by SMS, email, or voice blasts notifications during the incident, we'll send you another to let you know it's sorted. 

    Occasionally after an interruption, your water may be a different colour or may appear to be milky or cloudy. For more information and advice on how you can clear the problem, please click here.

    It's common for there to be air in your pipes after a supply interruption, so it may come out very suddenly and splutter or at a reduced pressure. Watch our short video on how to release this.

  • ​If you’re left without water for more than 12 hours, we’ll pay you £30 plus another £30 for every additional 12 hours that you have no water.

    We have thousands of data loggers across our region, which allow us to track the duration of a supply interruption. Payments will be made automatically, based on the information provided by our loggers, and we’ll let you know within 20 working days. 

    If we don't make the payment automatically, a further penalty payment may also be given.

    For more information, please view our standards of service.