Why are you without water?

If your water supply is cut off you can claim compensation. But it will depend on how long you're without water and whether the work was planned or not.

Emergency interruptions

If you have water supply problems unexpectedly because a water main bursts, your water company should turn it back on within 12 hours of knowing about the problem.

If a larger 'strategic' water main bursts, it has to fix it within 48 hours.

Your water company must also tell you:

  • that the supply has been interrupted or cut off
  • where to get an alternative supply of water
  • when the supply will be fixed
  • the phone number where you can get more information.

If you have no water supply for more than 12 hours, your company should give you an alternative supply, such as bottled water or put a mobile water tank (bowser) near your home.

Your water company should also give you at least 10 litres of water per person within the first 24 hours, then continue that supply until your water is turned back on.

If you need a constant water supply for medical reasons, contact your water company. All suppliers should keep a register of their customers who may need extra help when their water supply stops.

Compensation for emergency interruptions

If your water supply isn’t restored by the time the company says it will be, you 're usually entitled to compensation of £20 for the first 24 hours. 

From there, you should get an extra £10 for each further 24-hour period you’re without running water.

If you don’t get sent this compensation within 20 working days, you can claim a further £20.

Planned works

For planned interruptions of longer than four hours, your water company should normally give you 48 hours’ notice that you'll have no water supply. Water should be restored by the time given in the notice.

Compensation for planned interruptions

If the water supply problem is restored by the time given in the notice, you're usually entitled to £20 compensation.

And if you weren’t given 48 hours' notice, you’re also entitled to £20 compensation.

If your water company doesn’t pay up within 20 working days, you are entitled to a further £20 payment.

When your supplier doesn’t have to pay

Occasionally, there are circumstances when your water company doesn’t have to pay compensation.

For example, if there was severe weather which prevented them from meeting their standards or their staff are striking.

Compensation during a drought

Water companies have to pay up when essential household water supplies are interrupted because of restrictions under emergency drought orders.

This includes water supplies for purposes such as:

  • cooking
  • washing
  • drinking
  • flushing the toilet.

It does not include uses such as watering the garden, car washing or filling a pool.

Companies should pay customers £10 for each day (or part day) that the water supply is interrupted or cut off. The maximum compensation you can get is equal to the company’s average household bill for the previous year.

But companies don’t have to pay if Ofwat decides the circumstances are so exceptional that it would be unreasonable to expect the company to avoid the interruption.

Find out more about your water rights under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme.

How to make a compensation claim

Some compensation will be paid automatically, either as a payment to you or as money credited to your water account.

But not all companies do this and you might have to make a claim in writing within three months of the incident.

If in doubt, contact your water company about how to make a claim.

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