Water connection help & FAQs

Our water connection Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) choose from the the answers below to help you with your application.

Before you apply 

Who is responsible for what?

The below diagram is the typical layout of the pipework between your property and our mains and who’s responsible for what. You’ll be responsible for the private supply pipe which runs through your private land and any internal pipework. Whereas we own and maintain the large water mains and smaller communication pipes that run in the public highway (road), and the water meter installed at the site boundary.


What should I do if I want to split or upgrade my existing water supply?

If you already have an existing water connection but would like to upgrade it by replacing your current supply. Depending on the reason there are two routes for you to take:

1.You will need to request a service from our operational team on 03303030368, when:

  • You are splitting into or from a shared supply within residential unit
  • If you are replacing your private supply pipe due to pressure issues or it is leaking
  • If you are replacing your lead pipe
  • If you do not have a meter and would like to request a meter


2. You will need to submit a water connection application when:

  • You are replacing your existing supply to increase the flow due to increased demand
  • You are looking to split into or from a shared supply within commercial unit
  • Relocating meters or supply pipes

Depending on the outcome of the investigation by our operational team, in some scenarios you might be referred to the Developer Services Team.

I’d like a disconnection, is a water connection the right application?

If you need a disconnection along with your water connection, then this should be requested as part of your water connection application. If you need a disconnection on its own, please refer to Southern Water billing team on 0330 303 0277. Permanent disconnections are free of charge, however, please be aware any future connections after the water supply have been disconnected will be a chargeable and will need to go through new water connection application process.

How can I replace lead pipes?

We have a policy of replacing our lead pipes and encourage our customers to replace any of their lead water supply pipes. Customers are responsible for the pipe that runs between the boundary of the street and their property – this is referred to as the supply pipe. Southern Water is responsible for that part of the pipe between the water main and the boundary of the street in which the water main is laid – this is referred to as the communication pipe. For more information please see is there lead in my water or contact our team on 0330 303 0368. You will not need to apply for a water connection application in this case.

My existing supply is a lead pipe, does it need replacing?

Lead in water is harmful so if your property has lead pipes you will want to replace them. If you are concerned that you may have lead plumbing or would like us to check your drinking water for lead, we can arrange a visit to your property, and we’ll take a water sample for analysis free of charge.

You can find out more about this service and lead pipes on our website or contact our team on 0330 303 0368.

How can I request a fire supply?

If you are planning to install a fire sprinkler system or a fire hydrant, you can request this using a Water Connection application and you can also view information about fire supplies.

Where is my nearest water main?

You will need to understand the location, size, and material of our water mains in your area so you can plan how your connection will be made. You can request a sewer or water map online and where known, the map identifies:

  • The location of water mains in our water supply area
  • Size and material of the pipe
  • The location of sewer mains

You may also be able to view these maps at your local authority offices or our office at Durrington.

You can then annotate where you would like the point of connection for your site to be made and attach this with your application.

Copies of maps showing our assets need to be requested from our service partner Digdat, there is a fee for each asset map.

Please be aware we may not hold all the information you require. Public sewers within customers property boundaries are not always mapped due to the transfer of responsibility for these sewers in 2011.

I don’t have a planning permission, is it too early for me to apply for a water connection?

If you do not yet have planning permission, you are probably submitting this application too early in the process. If you would like to get a budget cost for your proposed works, please use our budget calculator. If you have any questions, please call us on 0330 303 0119.

What are the most common reasons for a delay in water connection?

To ensure your water connection installation goes smoothly and completed on time, we wanted to share the top reasons that delay the process.

Here is what you can do to avoid the most common delays:

  • Include the application reference when making a BACS payment
  • Complete your site inspection checklist when requesting a site inspection
  • Submit the site plan showing your requested point of connection with your application
  • Complete payment for the works after you accepted the quote
  • Complete water regulation questionnaire after you accepted the quote
  • Remove scaffolding or any access restrictions to your site on the day of the connection

What if my work goes through the third party/private land

If your private supply pipe runs through someone else’s land, please obtain and send written consent from the owner with your application to confirm the supply was laid legally. You can upload it through the GetConnected portal along with other supporting documents.

What if there is no water main near my site?

If you are building multiple domestic or commercial properties on a site that will have new road access, you will probably need a new water main to be laid to service your site. These are dealt with separately to a water connection and you can find out more about your options on our new water main webpage.

What water capacity is available for firefighting purposes?

Under the provisions of the Water Industry Act 1991, Southern Water is primarily obliged to provide supplies for domestic purposes. Supplies for firefighting purposes are not included as a ‘domestic purpose’ and constancy of pressure and continuity of supply cannot be guaranteed. Our minimum service standard for the supply of water is a pressure of 15 metres head or 1.5 bar at the connection to the distribution main. Please refer to our guide for further information about fire supplies.

What should I do if I need a water supply for a block of flats?

For less than five flats, you’ll need to lay individual connection services to each flat. If you’re building more than five, you’ll need a bulk supply, that you’ll separate internally. You’ll be able to choose between the boundary/bulk meter or individual meter.

Depending on how much water you’re going to use, you might need to apply for a new water main. If you’re building a large apartment complex, you’ll need to check the best way for you to get the water supply. If you need a lot of water, we might need to make some changes to our network to be able to deliver this. To understand your best option and all the required work, please complete a pre-development enquiry. We’ll be able to make the necessary checks and advise on the best option for your project. You have an option to provide your own meter carriers. Please refer to our guidelines for installing internal meters in new flats.

What is the average water connection price across the industry?

How Southern Water’s connection costs compare:

Single connections

10 connections

50 Connections with selflay

Making an application

When do I need to submit a soil analysis report?

Any application for new water connection to a development (construction of new properties, or renovation or conversion of existing buildings) in land potentially affected by contamination will need a completed Soil Analysis Report. If your site has been known for use of any of the following, please commission a soil analysis report to avoid the need for more costly barrier pipe.

  • Petrol Station
  • Fuel Storage
  • Motor Mechanics
  • Vehicle Parking Boatyard
  • Military Camp
  • Coal Yard
  • Chemical Storage Scrap Yard
  • Landfill
  • Burial Ground

Guidance on soil analysis and contaminated land

Please submit your soil analysis report as a supporting document to your new water connection application on GetConnected.

I would like to apply for the Target 100 scheme, what do I need to include with my application?

If you are applying for reduced water infrastructure charges using our Target 100 scheme, you will need to upload your supporting documentation from Building Regulations confirming that your internal fittings comply with this. You can get an enhanced income offset for water efficient homes that can prove the water usage to be less than 110 litres per person per day.

Please refer to Water efficiency calculations, to find required information that you will need when applying for Target 100.

Quote related questions

Is it possible to meet with the surveyor for the site survey?

As a rule, you do not have to be present on site during a site survey. We will let you know when this is arranged. However, if you wish to meet the surveyor, you can write a comment as part of your water connection application. Our team will contact you to meet you on site during their visit.

What does my quote document mean?

Your water connection quote document will include a few sections and terms. Here is a helpful glossary to help you understand what this means:

Connection Cost: This cost of the excavation work, fittings and pipework, and reinstatement of the area. 

Complex (Extraordinary) Traffic Management Cost: This includes the cost of traffic lights and signage, pedestrian/traffic diversions and road closures. Traffic Management costs are actual costs to ensure we comply with the Traffic Management Act 2004.  Traffic management applies to around 65% of our customers. If traffic management is not required for your scheme, you will not be charged.

Water Regulations Inspection Cost: This is the cost to inspect your service pipe, and that it meets water regulations standards to ensure water quality for your property and our network.

Application Fee: This is the charge for your site survey and production of your cost advice.

Administration Fee: The fee associated with general administration activities, relating to the construction phase, which can include processing any payments, scheduling the works, supervision and project management, and processing information into relevant billing/management systems.

Infrastructure Charge: The charges described in section 146(2) of the Water Industry Act 1991. That is, a charge paid to the Water Company when a property is connected to the company’s water supply or sewer network for the first time.

Income Offset: Income offset is a payment made by us to a customer that is building a house or development, it represents the future income that we will receive from a new connection.

Why do I have to pay sewerage infrastructure charges?

Infrastructure charges are a one-off charge, charged by all water companies for first time connections/additional connections. Each new connection that adds a demand to our water and sewerage network will incur these costs. These charges ensure the upkeep and maintenance of our network. The sewer infrastructure charges will be included in your water connection quote, where you have indicated, you are connecting to the sewerage system.

Why do I have to pay an application fee?

The application fees are cost-reflective of the Ofwat charging rules and cover our cost of providing an application processing service to you.

How can I pay Southern Water fees?

You can pay by card online or over the phone, BACS for all our services and application fees.

How long is my quote valid for?

Southern Water publishes the new charging rates on 31st March every year. Your water connection quote is valid until the 31st of March. If you received your quote in February or March, we will grant a 2-month grace period, extending the validity of your quote until 31st of May.

What if my quote has expired?

Requote requests are processed within 28 days as per our Ofwat Service Level Agreement. However, it is worth noting that requotes do not necessarily take that long if there are no changes to the original scope of works or minor variation. A requote fee of £92.00 which will be added to your quote.

How do I request a refund?

In the event you have paid for the service that you can no longer progress, you can request a refund by calling our service desk 0330 303 0119.

What are lane rental charges?

The Lane Rental Scheme is a daily rate charged to any companies working in certain roads in Kent and West Sussex to try to avoid traffic disruption at certain times. To avoid additional charges companies are encouraged to:

  • Work outside of traffic-sensitive times
  • Work outside of term or seasonal times
  • Work at weekends and bank holidays during term-times
  • Avoid the reduction of lanes available to traffic
  • Work with other highway companies to share a collective charge.


These charges will be included in the cost breakdown of your quote in advance, however we will try to plan in your connection at a time that will avoid the charges. If charges can be avoided a refund will be issued to you.

Detailed guidance on the scheme and how it is applied can be found on the County Council website links below:

West Sussex Lane Rental Scheme - West Sussex County Council

Kent Lane Rental Scheme - Kent County Council

Preparing for connection works

How do I fill in a Water Regulations Questionnaire?

After you decided to progress with your connection and have accepted the quote, we sometimes need to ask you to fill in a water regulations questionnaire to understand your intended water fittings and plumbing arrangements. The short online questionnaire will be presented to you at the quote stage of your application. This is a legal requirement of the Water Supply (Water fittings) Regulations 1999 that you will need to follow when designing, installing, and maintaining your pipework.

After we reviewed your information, we will send you a water regulations consent within 10 working days. This service is free of charge.

Here is what you will need to have ready to fill in our online form:

  • Applicant's details (name, address, contact phone and email of the person making the application)
  • Recipient details (fill in this section if the consent is to be sent to a different address, for instance, the owner of the project)
  • Site/location details (Address where the installation is to be located. A contact phone number is required so inspections can be arranged)
  • Notification details (number of water supply connections; select a description of the proposed works)
  • Plumbing details (plumbing details i.e. pipe works, water fittings (e.g. taps) and appliances along with the plan of the installation)
  • Name of approved plumber (installer name)

How do I pass my site inspection first time?

We have prepared a site inspection checklist so that inspection of your supply pipes can be passed first time. This is also included in the guidelines document for your plumber to follow.

  • All obstructions must be removed to allow the inspection
  • No pipes must be installed above the water pipe i.e. which will block access to it
  • The site/footpath boundary is clearly marked
  • Supply pipe is a minimum of 750mm deep or and a maximum of 1350mm deep.
  • Ducts must be cut back at the boundary and appropriately sealed
  • Supply pipe must be capped and labelled with plot number (if applicable)
  • Supply pipe must not cross third-party land to prevent boundary disputes
  • Supply pipe is brought to a 90-degree angle from the main and at entry to the property
  • Supply pipe must be in the same location to that priced for under new connections quotation
    • Can’t be in a different road to that stated on the new connection’s quotation
    • Must be close enough together to utilise 2/6-way manifold (if applicable)
  • Supply pipe must be ducted into the building, appropriately sealed, and insulated
  • An internal stoptap must be fitted
  • Supply pipe must be PEB (polyethylene barrier) for contaminated sites or standard PE (standard polyethylene) for non-contaminated

Please complete this checklist before submitting photos for your site inspection.

Please note: If your pipe has been laid across a significant distance (greater than 10 metres) and backfilled, we may need to evidence using trial holes at set intervals to show the depth maintained across the full distance.

Who can carry out the connection to the water main?

Only Southern Water and our approved contractors are permitted to work on our network. Non-approved contractors connecting to the Southern Water network would be in breach of The Water Act and subject to prosecution. Please refer to our self-lay providers page for more information about our approved contractors. WIRS accredited self-lay organisation may perform works on the connection of water mains and supplies to a property, dependent on the status and scope of accreditation.

When do I need to provide chlorination certificate?

If your supply pipe is standard 63mm (50mm internal diameter) or larger and greater than 15 meters you must take a sample. Samples should then be collected and submitted for testing for microbiological content and turbidity by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) laboratory. It is important to check that the microbiological and turbidity methods used by the laboratory are UKAS accredited to ISO17025 for water analysis and this should be clearly shown on all test reports sent to SWS. Further information can be found on the UKAS website: https://www.ukas.com/ . All microbiological samples should include an on-site (in-situ) free and total chlorine residual measurement taken at the time of sampling.

All lengths of pipe of any diameter should be disinfected. Pipes below 15 metres in length can have a spray disinfection (1000mg/l free residual chlorine) or use “fizzy” chlorine tablet followed by a thorough flush through. Above 15m in length the methods described in the SWS’s HCoP should apply - 20mg/l free chlorine for 16 hours (minimum) or 50mg/l for 2 hours.

The pipe must achieve a satisfactory pass before we can arrange your final connection works. Please send the test report to [email protected].

Can I connect new supply pipes onto an existing communication pipe?

If you are constructing a new building or converting an existing building into multiple units, you will need a new communication pipe(s). We will not allow you to connect any new supply pipes onto your existing communication pipe due to potential complications with pressure and it not being standard industry practice since 1991. Please apply to S45 Water Connection application.

What if I need to install an agricultural trough?

If you need a new agricultural water supply for a trough in a field, you need to apply for a water connection application.

You will be required to lay a private supply pipe in your private land down to the nearest existing water main for us to connect to. You can use our maps service, to find your nearest main.  You don’t need to apply for sewer connection in this case.

It is possible to take a trough supply from an existing metered supply. For example, you can put in troughs from the existing metered supply to a farmhouse, but this cannot be billed separately.

How can I get temporary building supplies (TBS)?

Temporary building supplies (TBS) can be provided for development sites where water is required for building purposes, it will follow a similar process to laying a standard supply, however we will organise a disconnection at a time indicated by you in the future. Alternatively, TBS can be converted into permanent supply.

Typically, we will contact you within a month of the disconnection date to ensure you are finished with the supply before we remove it, and if need be, we can extend the disconnection date into the future.

Sometimes you may want to use a service pipe for a plot as a temporary supply, whilst the plot is being built. If this is the case, then once the temporary supply is no longer required, the plot can connect, however ensure the boundary box is installed initially in the correct final location.

There may be times when you need a supply of water outside of our normal service. Hiring a standpipe is an alternative method to have a temporary source of water for a site including:

  • Landscape gardening
  • Construction
  • Drain cleaning
  • Organised events

These can be hired from Water Services, who we work with to provide standpipes in our region. If you would like to hire a standpipe or enquire about prices, please contact Water Services on 02392 695 515 (7:30 – 4:30 weekdays) or email [email protected].

Only standpipes provided by Water Services can be legally used on our network. Using standpipe without a licence is illegal.

You should note that standpipe water can only be drawn from a Southern Water washout hydrant (Marked with ‘WO’). It can never be used on a fire hydrant (Marked with ‘FH’).

Can I supply my own meter carriers?

Meter carriers can either be supplied by Southern Water as part of your S45 - Water Connection quote or purchased directly from an independent supplier. Further information on internal meters.

What if I need large size connection?

Some larger sites, including commercial buildings and flats will require a larger connection than our standard connection sizes of 25 or 32mm (outer diameters). We refer to these larger sizes as ‘bulk connections’ which includes sizes greater than 32mm, including 63mm, 90mm and 125mm. This can be requested as part of your S45 Water Connection application. Please note for larger connections we will need your anticipated flow rates information, which you can obtain from the plumber or using the flow rate calculator.

Can I re-use an old redundant pipe?

Redundant pipes are the pipes that have been unused for 60 days. We do not allow the reuse of old redundant pipe due to:

  • Water quality issues as the water inside the pipe would have been stagnant, that could cause bacteria growth and could cause a public health issue. Southern Water recommends flushing the supply every seven days
  • The pipe may have been left open ended meaning contaminates could be within the pipe
  • The condition of the old existing redundant pipe may be unsuitable
  • The pipe material may not be suitable (e.g. The ground may now be contaminated)
  • The old existing redundant pipe could be lead in which it is a water quality issue in itself
  • The location of the pipe may be unsuitable
  • The pipe diameter may be unsuitable

If you have any questions, please contact our service desk team 0330 303 0119.

Can I mole my supply pipe?

Yes, you choose to mole your private supply pipe. We will require a few inspection holes along the length of the moled pipe (approximately 2 every 5 meters). Please consult your technical coordinator to advise on the required number of inspection holes for your pipe. The point of entry at the boundary will need also need to be left open for inspection.

What connection size do I need for a domestic property?

For a standard domestic property, a 25mm connection is required.

There are a small number of situations it may be advisable to increase the size of a connection for a domestic property from a 25mm supply to a 32mm supply:

  • When the property is more than 3 stories high
  • When the property is more than 50m away from Point of Connection
  • When the property has a high peak water demand required for example to fill a swimming pool.

The number of toilets, showers and sinks in a property does not typically impact the connection size if the property is still being used by a single household.

For any project with connection greater than a 32mm, we will require either a water regulations form detailing the water fittings, features and appliances in the property or the peak flow rate requirement for the property.

How do I get my pipework and site inspected?

We need to confirm that the new supply pipe(s) you are laying are at the correct depth, use appropriate material and are safely installed inside the property. The rules for water pipes require us to ensure that all connections are designed and built to prevent contamination of the existing water supply and can resist damage due to cold weather and poor ground conditions.

Once you have laid your private supply pipe(s), you will need to take series of photos, following our instructions and submit them using the GetConnected portal. We will review your photos to make sure your pipework is ready for our crew to connect your property to the water main. This is usually the quickest option.

In some cases, we may need to arrange an in-person inspection. We will let you know in advance if this becomes necessary.

You can check what photos are needed by reading this guide.

Download photo guide

If your pipe has been laid across a significant distance (greater than 10 metres) and backfilled, we may need to evidence using trial holes at set intervals to show the depth maintained across the full distance.

I am WIAPS-certified, can I bypass a site inspection?

If you are a WIAPS-certified plumber or are using a WIAPS certified plumber to do your installation, you do not need to arrange an inspection.

Once you have laid your private supply pipe(s), please submit your WIAPS certificate or reference number and an appropriate photo to show the capped pipe has been brought to the agreed point of connection.

Example photos below:

Example photos

Completing connection works

How long does the average water connection take?

Southern water has 21 days to install your water connection after the following activities are completed:

  1. Accept and pay for the quote
  2. Complete water regulations questionnaire
  3. Site inspection passed
  4. Bacteriological test passed (only for large diameter connections 63mm and above)

In situations where complex traffic management or third-party land access is required, the timelines may need to be extended to obtain necessary permissions.

What is traffic management and why do I need it?

Traffic management allows us to carry out our works in the road safely. Standard traffic management is where we can keep traffic flowing, or install 2-way traffic lights, whilst carrying out our connection works. This service is included within our standard water connection charge.

However, if more complex traffic management is needed, or we incur additional local authority charges, we will apply an additional charge.

Examples of where these charges apply include:

  • 3- or 4-way temporary traffic lights when working at junctions
  • Road closures
  • Temporary closure of pedestrian crossings or traffic lights (often known as ‘bagging’ traffic lights)
  • Lane rental charges

We may need to arrange the necessary highway licences to work in the road, which can take up to 3 months in line with Highway Authority procedures and timescales.

Is there anything I need to do on the day of the connection?

On the day when connection works take place, please ensure that scaffolding has been removed so that our team has full access to the pipes. If there are any access arrangements required for our team to access your site, please make those arrangements in advance.

How do I setup my water account?

Following the connection, your new supply will be left live with a meter installed. From this point on the occupier will be responsible for the bill. As the occupant you will need to register your account.

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