Our five year business plan
Every time you walk the dog, go to the shops or visit a neighbour the chances are you'll be stepping over a Cambridge Water water main.
In fact there are 2300km of them winding their way to more than 130,000 homes and businesses and if you laid them end to end they would stretch all the way from Land's End to John O'Groats and back again!
With so much pipe work running underground it is inevitable there will be some water loss through minor leaks and seepage.
Every year Cambridge Water ploughs thousands of pounds into stemming the flow of leaks. Recent initiatives include installing special district metres located in villages and Cambridge City to assist in their rapid detection.
What if I notice a leak?
Phone us on 01223 706050 at any time of the day or night.
We aim to inspect all water leaks within 48 hours of your call. They will be assessed in terms of how much water is leaking, whether any customers are receiving loss of supply or low pressure, and if it is likely to flood properties or cause a danger to traffic or life. If the leak is within the boundary of your property we will also confirm who has responsibility for the leak.
Signs of leaks
Damp patches in or outside the property, or lush vegetation in dry periods may be indications of leaking pipes. If you have a water meter, an unusually high reading may also indicate a leak.
Free leak detection service
If you think that you have a leak, Cambridge Water offers a free basic leak detection service for all customers, subject to terms and conditions. An inspector will visit your home to undertake initial testing. These tests could take up to two hours to complete.
Commercial customers who request further detailed investigations will be charged for the service.
On installation of a meter
When a meter is installed we will carry out a free leak repair check. If a leak is found, we will tell you. If we can repair it without any further digging, we will do so. However, if further excavation is required, you may have to pay, unless you qualify for the free leaks repair scheme. We will always explain your options
Using your meter to check for leaks
If you have a meter you can use this to check whether you have a water leak.
Water is paid for by the cubic metre. On your water meter the black numbers on the meter indicated the cubic metres used and the red numbers indicated the fractions of cubic metres. To check that you do not have a leak on any pipework after the meter:
1) Turn off all taps
2) Read the meter (including the red digits)
3) Do not use any water for a length of time (eg overnight or while you are out for the day).
4) Read the meter again.
If the second reading is higher than the first there may be a leak. Call Cambridge Water immediately on 01223 706050. We will then send an inspector to the property to investigate further.
What happens if the leak is my responsibility?
You are responsible for repairs to:
1) Your pipe
2) Your stop-tap
3) All the plumbing inside your property
If you need your underground pipe work locating or tracing within your property boundary we recommend you engage an approved plumber.
Free leak repair scheme
To demonstrate our commitment to the control of leakage we will repair the first leak to your supply pipe free of charge.
Please note if you are a commercial customer you will need to find the leak if it is on your premises. We will then repair the leak for free once every five years.
Which costs are covered by this offer?
We will pay for all the work involved in repairing the leak. However, you may have to pay if the pipe needs to be replaced. You will be responsible for the cost of restoring paying, or other specially surfaced areas on your property
What will the work involve?
We will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for the repair.
If we dig up your lawn or garden we will replace the original turn of leave bare soil. If we have to dig up a drive or other paved areas, we will finish the surface with tarmac or leave you complete as you wish. We will discuss this with you at the appropriate time.
Please note we will not carry out repairs that involve or risk disturbing the fabric of the building.
Important information on the Cambridge Water Company free repair scheme
1) We will charge for subsequent repairs to the supply pipe on the property for five years after the date of the repair (including where there is a change of owner)
2) We will charge to repair a leak that has been caused through negligence by the owner or occupier, or where the owner or occupier knew, or should have known, there was a leak and failed to repair it
3) We will not repair a leak on a supply pipe within 600mm of a building or where it is under a building
4) We reserve the right to terminate this offer at our discretion
To find our more please read our Service Price Maintenance leaflet
What happens if the leak is our responsibility?
At Cambridge Water we take all leaks very seriously. If you do report a leak, we will repair it as soon as we possibly can dependent on the severity of other leaks which have been reported to us, and we appreciate your patience during any waiting time.
What is Cambridge Water's leakage target?
Cambridge Water is set a leakage target by the industry regulator Ofwat. Our current target is 14 Ml/d (million litres a day). While this sounds a lot this rate is lower than the national average and is set at a level which means it is cost effective to repair them.
The company plans to maintain its total leakage at or below 14 Ml/d, effectively reducing per property leakage by 30% by 2035.
What is Cambridge Water doing to reduce its leakage?
There are many ways to reduce our leakage figure. The most obvious is to renew our water mains, many of which are over 100-years-old.
Over the period 1995-2007 the company renewed, on average, 13km of mains each year.
We have recently adopted a programme of installing district meters to Cambridge city and the surrounding villages. These meter the flow of water and by comparing readings, we can rapidly identify if there is a leak within the metered zone.
Cambridge Water also runs a free leak hotline 0800 316 76 76 and aims to inspect all leaks within 48 hours of a call.
Finally, our free leak detection service and leak repair scheme are designed to encourage members of the public to report leaks wherever possible. On average we repaired 200 leaks at people's homes every year.
All this work means Cambridge Water consistently meets the leakage targets set by industry regulator Ofwat.