Water supply pipes

What am I responsible for?

Here at United Utilities, we are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the water mains in your region, which carry huge amounts of water from our treatment works and storage reservoirs to your street.

The responsibility for maintaining and repairing water pipes that carry the water from our mains to your house is split between us and you, if you are the homeowner.

The pipe from the road to the boundary of your house (the 'communication pipe')

This part of the pipe is our responsibility and runs from our water main to the boundary of your house. We are responsible for looking after this. Please report a leak on the pavement or in the road if you see one.

The pipe from your property boundary into your home (the 'supply pipe')

The water supply pipe is the one that brings water into your home from our main in the street. If you own the house, you are responsible for the maintenance of this pipe, however, if you find a leak on this pipe we may be able to repair it under the terms of our private leak investigation scheme (PDF 266 KB opens in a new window)

Single supply pipe

Common supply pipe

Please note: in some cases for example where the water main supplying your property is located some distance from the property, the property owner will be/is likely to be responsible for the cost of maintaining the full length of the supply pipe, up to the point at which it is connected to our main. This is likely to be where our water main is either not laid in a highway or the water main supplying your property lies in a different highway from the one immediately outside your property. Also, the property owner is responsible for their supply pipe, even if it crosses other privately or publicly-owned land before entering their home.

Bursts on your water supply pipe

As a household customer, you are responsible for the maintenance of all the plumbing within your home and also the external pipework, which is located within the boundary of your property.

If you're unlucky enough to experience a burst on your water supply pipe (the underground pipe that transports water from our main in the street into your home), we may be able to help with the repair under our private leak investigation scheme (PDF 266 KB opens in a new window). You can find full details of the scheme in our leakage code of practice (PDF 191 KB opens in a new window).

Also, if you have a water meter, you are entitled to claim for the cost of the water lost during the time you had the leak. You can read more about this here.

New water supply pipes

This section covers 25mm size connections off our existing water network to both new build houses and existing properties that have been refurbished or converted.

This includes:

  • detached/semi-detached properties
  • terrace/mews properties
  • bungalows

If your application consists of two or more new build properties, you are advised to consider requisitioning a new water main, as this may provide a more economical and better engineering option. See our Builders & developers section for further details.

How do I apply?

You can apply for a water connection by completing the AWS1 Application for a Water Supply.

Meter location policy

Since 1990, every newly-built property has had a water meter installed and, since April 2010, the majority of new water meter installations are capable of being remotely read. This means access to the property is not needed to obtain a meter reading, so we can install meters in locations that are more accessible to customers and avoid issues associated with meter installations in the footpath or boundary. Learn more about how we fit internal meters at the point of entry of the water service pipe here (PDF 1,115 KB opens in a new window).

How much will it cost?

Our service connection charge includes the work we will carry out to excavate, lay up to 2 metres of service pipe and connect the new water supply to our main. Where applicable, it also includes the installation of an AMR (Automated Meter Reader). The actual charge depends on the type of surface we have to excavate. An additional charge per metre of excavation applies for services over 2 metres in length.

Please see our new connections and developer services charges scheme for futher details.

Infrastructure charges

The principle of infrastructure charges recognises that every new connection imposes an additional demand on the overall capacity of the water supply and sewerage systems, and eventually those systems will need to be enlarged. Infrastructure charges are used to cover the extra demand on our existing network away from a development site. Infrastructure charges have been set based on our forecast of the network reinforcement investment required as a result of a new development and the number of new connections expected in the next five years. These charges need to be paid by anyone who wishes to build or develop premises where a connection is made either directly or indirectly to our existing network. 

Please see our new connections and developer services charges scheme for futher details.

Contaminated land

All water companies have a responsibility to ensure water delivered for domestic purposes is of wholesome quality, without taste or odour. Where new water pipes are to be installed on land that is, or may be, affected by contamination, a risk assessment for water pipes should be carried out by the applicant for consideration by us.  

Water re-use systems

We support the use of water re-use systems and encourage all our customers to be waterwise. Water re-use systems, particularly rainwater harvesting units, are becoming more and more common in both new and existing premises. These water re-use systems must be correctly installed and maintained, otherwise serious health issues may arise at the properties involved. Legally, water re-use systems must be designed and installed to ensure there is no risk to the end user and, in particular, must not be directly connected in anyway to the mains drinking water supply.

Domestic fire sprinkler systems

Domestic fire sprinklers can be fitted to new and existing properties.