Images of a temporary water supply fitted incorrectly

Anglian Water is urging customers to make sure they know the ‘water law’ to avoid costly plumbing fails. 

Avoidable plumbing fails cost UK homeowners and businesses billions of pounds in repairs every year, but what many don’t realise is that the work could be breaking the law, too.

Working in partnership with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS), Anglian Water is raising awareness of national regulations which mean any work on new or existing plumbing systems or some kinds of water installations need to be approved before they can begin.

This is to make sure it meets Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations that are designed to keep drinking water supplies safe and healthy.

The warning doesn’t just apply to plumbers - businesses, homeowners, landlords and even tenants should all follow the regulations.

Matt Jackson from Anglian Water said: “Making sure our customers have high quality, safe drinking water is our top priority.

“Our message is simple - if you are planning some plumbing work, no matter how small, take a few minutes to seek out professional advice or speak to an accredited WaterSafe plumber who is familiar with the regulations.”

“Many people are unaware of their legal responsibilities to ensure certain types of plumbing work comply with these regulations. In the same way you wouldn’t make changes to your home or business premises without planning permission, you also need approval from your water supplier to make alternations to your plumbing. This mainly applies to commercial properties but does affect you if you install such things as rainwater systems in a house.

“Some of the nasty plumbing fails we’ve found over the years include waste water pipes left uncovered, water supplies connected to fire hydrants and contamination of drinking water from illegal pipework.

“Getting permission is quick and free but failure to notify us could result in extra cost to put poor plumbing right or, worse, contamination of water supplies and a court prosecution.”

A list of the top plumbing fails are available here.

Approved plumbers are trained to meet the strict regulations for installing drinking water pipes and fittings, and are allowed to carry out some types of work on a pre-approved basis. Accredited professionals and organisations can be found using a postcode search at watersafe.org.uk.

Further information about the water supply regulations can be found at wras.co.uk/notification.

A social media campaign with the hashtag #plumbingfails is running for the course of the awareness campaign.