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Getting a water or sewerage connection

Connecting to a water main

Different rules govern connecting to a water main, depending on whether the water supply is for domestic or non-domestic purposes. Both household and non-household customers can be supplied water for domestic or non-domestic purposes.

Domestic purposes include water for:

  • washing – washing machines, dishwashers
  • cooking
  • sanitary facilities – toilets, bathrooms, showers

A household could ask for a supply for non-domestic purposes if the customer wanted a separate water connection from the water main, for example for:

  • a swimming pool
  • a garden tap

Domestic purposes

The owner or occupier of a property is entitled to request that a water company provides a connection to a company water main for a domestic purpose supply. Contact your water company if you want a new or replacement water supply connection.

Your water company is entitled to recover the reasonable costs of making the connection, including the cost of laying a service pipe from the main to the boundary of the public highway. Either party may refer a dispute about the reasonable costs to us for a decision. The water company may apply certain conditions before it will make the connection. For example, it may require a deposit for the work (up to the full charge) and it will require the pipework and fittings for which you are responsible to be installed to appropriate standards.

Non-domestic purposes

You are entitled to ask your water company to supply you with water for non-domestic purposes. This includes supplies, for example, for an outside garden tap.

The water company must make sure that it can meet all existing and potential demand for supplies for domestic purposes when considering a request for a non-domestic supply. Supplies for non-domestic purposes are made available through an agreement between the company and the customer. We can determine a dispute about an agreement's terms and conditions. The company is entitled to recover the reasonable costs of making the connection and a rate of return on any capital expenses it incurs.

Connecting where there is no water main

If there is no water main near your property, you may have to ask your company to lay or extend a main.

The company has a duty to respond to requests for water mains for domestic supplies. It is entitled to charge for providing the main and any necessary network reinforcement, but must allow for future income that it will receive from the newly-connected property.

Laying a water main and connecting it to the supply pipe may be carried out by an approved (or accredited) contractor. This is known as self lay. Find out more about accredited self-lay organisations.

A new connection where you already have a supply

If you want a new connection for a property that is already receiving a supply (for example renewing or separating a supply pipe), you will have to pay the reasonable costs of the connection work. Either party may refer a dispute about the reasonable costs to us for a decision.

Additional charges for new properties

You will have to pay infrastructure charges to connect a new property. This covers the cost of improving the distribution network to meet the demand created by the new connection over time. Water companies are entitled to raise an infrastructure charge (under section 146 of the Water Industry Act 1991) when a property is connected for a domestic water supply for the first time. The way a company calculates the infrastructure charge is set out in its licence condition C.

We set an upper limit on infrastructure charge.  We set the amount at our 2004 price review, and it increases each year in line with inflation. The maximum charge in 2012-13 is £328.29 per property for a standard water connection and £328.29 per property for a standard sewerage connection.

If a single, larger (non-standard) service pipe supplies a property such as a hotel or block of flats where a management company is responsible for water charges, the infrastructure charges are calculated according to the number and type of water fittings.

If a site being developed had a mains water or sewerage connection for any purpose in the last five years, then infrastructure charge must normally be reduced by way of an infrastructure charge credit.
We are unable to calculate the infrastructure charges which are payable at a particular site. 

If you need to request a main or main extension in order for the connection to be made, then you will have to pay a requisition charge. The water company is entitled to make a charge for providing the main and any necessary network reinforcement, but must make an allowance for future income that it will receive from the newly connecting property or properties. We can determine disputes about the amount a water company charges for a main requisition.

Resolving problems with getting water or sewerage connections

If you cannot agree with your company the charges and conditions for a new connection,  then the Consumer Council for Water may be able to resolve your complaint quickly on an informal basis. If they are not successful then they will consider referring the complaint to us for formal resolution. Once we start a formal investigation of the dispute, both you and your company must follow our decision. Find out more about complaints we handle.

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