Water pressure - the facts

Here we explain some of the facts about water pressure, why pressure may vary and how we manage it.

Pressure is the force that pushes water through pipes and determines the flow of water from the tap.

Low pressure can reduce water flow, meaning it will take longer to fill a kettle or a cistern.

High pressure can increase leakage and the number of repairs we undertake on our pipes.

The amount of pressure at your tap can depend on how much water other customers in your area are using.

Pressures are generally at their highest when demand is low, and at their lowest during times when demand is high, for instance in the morning or evening, especially during dry spells.

Water pressure also varies according to the location of your property. It will depend on the distance your home is from our service reservoir or water tower, or how high the reservoir or water tower is above your home.

Homes at the top of a hill will normally receive lower pressure than those at the bottom.

We use pressure management in those parts of our supply network that have the highest pressures. High pressure can damage pipes and potentially cause bursts.

By managing the pressure in these pipes it is possible to save water and prevent disruptions to supply. Pressure management is part of our strategy to reduce leakage.

The pressure within our pipes varies across the day and we use control devices installed on our pipes to stabilise pressures.

This normally involves lowering pressures at night, when demand is low and pressures are generally at their highest.

However, it can involve increasing pressures during times when demand is high and pressures are normally at their lowest.

Pressure is continually monitored to ensure that suitable pressures are maintained.

If you are in a part of our supply network where we are introducing pressure management for the first time you may notice a change in the pressure you receive.

This should not mean that you will receive less water, although you may need to turn your taps on further or it will take a little longer to fill a bath or washing machine.

In the unlikely event that our management of water pressure stops you from receiving a consistent water supply, we will investigate, increasing pressure when applicable, and work with you to resolve any problems identified.

However, the majority of customers in areas where we are managing water pressure will not be significantly affected and it is likely that they may not even notice the change in water pressure.

Pressures across our supply network are managed in accordance with our Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) which emphasises our commitment to our domestic customers, detailing the minimum standards of service you can expect.

If you're experiencing a problem with your water pressure you should check that there is not a problem with the plumbing in your home. Simple checks are:

  • That your internal stopcock is fully open
  • That any other taps that control flow to your hot water system or other devices are turned on
  • If you have a thermostatic shower, whether the thermostat requires adjustment. 
If you're unable to undertake such checks or if you continue to experience problems with your water pressure, please call us on 0330 303 0368 (calls charged at local rate).