All you need to know about leakage
We are committed to ensuring the efficient use of available water, reducing water loss and repairing leaks on our water networks.
Our networks are mostly new and are designed to prevent bursts or service leaks occurring. Unfortunately, leaks do occasionally occur. If you see one, please call us on 0330 111 2014 and we will investigate and instigate repairs immediately if required.
We are required under our Conditions of Appointment to prepare a Code of Practice on Leakage which sets out in detail how leakage related issues are approached and resolved. You can download a copy of Code of Practice on Leakage.
Our Codes of Practice can also be made available to customers in Braille or large print on request by calling our Customer Services Team on 0330 111 0780.
The purpose of the Leakage Code is to explain how we can help or other actions that you can take in the event that you discover that you may have a leak. It also gives you some ideas on how to look for the source of a leak. Our Leakage Code applies to domestic customers, although we are able to provide assistance to our business customers in the event of a leak.
Below are some quick questions and answers regarding leaks. If you do have any questions or concerns regarding a leak, please call us on 0330 111 0780.
We share responsibility with you for maintaining the network and repairing leaks, although we are each responsible for separate sections of the network. The diagram below provides a useful visual guide to the different sections of the network outside your home and shows that part of the network for which we are responsible and that part of the network for which you are responsible.
We are responsible for the water main under the highway and the communications pipe that runs from the water main to the boundary of your property. We have a legal duty to operate an efficient network and to reduce water leakages. You can work with us in reducing leaks on our system by notifying us as soon as you become aware of any such leaks so that these can be repaired quickly so as not to waste water. You can call us at any time on 0330 111 2014 to notify us if you become aware of any leaks on our network. This line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You are responsible for maintaining the supply pipe (even though it is installed underground) and all the internal plumbing in your home. The water supply pipe is the pipe which brings water into your home from our main in the street and is the pipe that runs from the boundary of your property into your home up until the first water fitting or stop-tap inside your property. The supply pipe will typically be beneath your garden, driveway or path.
You should be vigilant in monitoring your water usage and identifying leaks as these can be costly to repair if not dealt with immediately, particularly as they can cause damage to your property. Also remember that leaks on your supply pipe and internal plumbing cause you to use additional water for which we are entitled to charge you.
If you have a leak on your private supply pipe, it is yours, or your landlord’s responsibility to arrange for it to be repaired. Once the leak has been confirmed, the leak will need to be repaired within 30 days.
If you require any assistance, you can call our Customer Services Team who can give you a list of plumbers or contractors in your area who may be able to carry out the repair work for you.
Alternatively, you can find a plumber in your local area on the internet, local paper or Yellow Pages.
Once Leaks are repaired
Please let us know once you have had the leaks repaired. You may be able to apply for a one-off leakage allowance as a result of the leak. See the section headed ‘Allowance for leaks’ for further details.
If you don’t repair your leaks
Water escaping from a leak is a loss of a costly and valuable resource, so if a leak is reported or detected on your pipework, you will be required to repair it. If you fail to comply with this request, we can serve a legal notice requiring a repair to be carried out. We have a legal duty to prevent wasted water and will therefore commence enforcement proceedings against you under sections 75 and 170 of the Water Industry Act 1991. If you don’t then carry out the repairs within the time specified in the notice, we will either:
- Carry out the repair ourselves and recover our costs from you; or
- Prosecute you under Section 73 of this Act for allowing your water fittings to be or remain in a defective condition. The maximum fine is £1,000
If you are on benefits
Icosa may be able to carry out repair on your supply pipe if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Council Tax Benefit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit (except families in receipt of the family element only)
- State Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
You can call our Customer Services Team for further information. If the leak is an emergency and likely to cause any damage to your property you are strongly advised to call a plumber to assist with the repair. We are under no circumstances liable for any damage to your property.
WaterSafe is a free online directory and national accreditation body for competent and qualified plumbers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It’s really important that you let us know if you spot a leak. You can do this by calling us on 0330 111 2014, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wet areas and lush vegetation
Water escaping from a leak on your underground supply pipe may not be obvious above ground, but wet areas or patches of lush vegetation in your garden during dry spells could indicate a leak. It is important to keep a regular check on your meter readings to help you identify an underground leak at an early stage. We would recommend that you check your meter reading at least once a month. Your meter will typically be installed in a meter chamber situated in the pavement outside your house.
Follow these simple steps to read you meter:
- Once you have located your meter chamber, use a flat-bladed screwdriver to open the lid on the chamber
- Remove the foam or polystyrene disc which acts as frost protection
- Check the serial number on the top of your meter – this should match the number on your bill
- Read the five figures in the black boxes
- These indicate the amount of water used in cubic metres (one cubic metre = 1,000 litres)
- Ignore the red boxes – these are 10 litre units and are not used for billing
- Replace the polystyrene disc and close the lid
Higher than normal bill?
If you bill is showing higher than normal consumption this may also be an indication that you have a leak on your supply pipe. If you suspect that you might have a leak, you can check the situation by noting the reading on all the dials on the meter; turning off all water using apparatus in your house for a couple of hours and checking the meter reading again. If the dials have moved, then you probably do have a leak. If you have internal water storage there may continue to be some inflow to the storage tank during this period. To counter this, take several readings during the period of the test, this may indicate an initial flow stopping when the storage tank is full.
To check if a leak is on your underground pipe and not inside your property, you should then turn off your internal stopcock and check the meter again. If the dials have moved again, or are moving while the stopcock is turned off, the leak is probably on your underground pipe.
If you are on a metered supply, the meter will record all of the water we supply to your property, which will include any leak on your supply pipe or from appliances in your home. However, if the cause of the leak is fully repaired, you will qualify for a one-off leak allowance, where we will adjust your charges back to their normal levels. Where we have no record of previous usage, e.g. you have recently moved into the property, we will estimate your normal usage. If subsequent meter readings show your actual usage to be lower than our estimate, we will make a further adjustment to reflect this.
If you are worried that you may have a leak on your supply pipe, please contact us and we will arrange for a Technician to visit and check your supply. If our visit confirms that there is a leak, we will advise you to contact your plumber for this to be repaired.
If the repair is completed within 30 days of the date of our Technician’s visit, we will make an allowance for the leak as a credit to your water bill. If the repair takes longer than 30 days, the value of the allowance may be reduced. Time to repair 30-60 days allowance reduced by 33%; 60-90 days allowance reduced by 66%. More than 90 days no allowance.
You should apply for the leak allowance once the leak has been satisfactorily repaired and within one month of the repair being carried out. Please contact our Customers Services Team on 0330 111 0780 or email us at email@example.com.
A copy of the invoice for the repair work will be required. If you are unable to provide this, we may need to visit your property to inspect the repair. Leak allowances are not made where the leak is due to customer negligence. Customers may receive one leak allowance per property.