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Developing your land

If you're considering developing land which you own, however large or small your development plans may be, you should check whether there are any water pipes or apparatus in your land that might restrict or prevent your proposed development.


A development may include:

  • A new housing development scheme
  • A demolition and re-development of a property
  • Adding an extension to your existing property
  • Building a separate permanent structure such as an annex, garden shed/summerhouse, greenhouse etc.
  • Creating physical improvements to your property by way of a permanent structure for example: swimming pool, fencing, pond, laying foundations etc.
  • Significant planting and landscaping including large scrubs and trees

You can request a map from us showing where our assets are in relation to your land by emailing:

The plans will show the approximate locations of our assets as they are recorded. Please note that service pipe records are rarely available, so our pipework plans will only include public water mains by default. Where service pipe records are required, please ask and we will check our records. If no records are available, the team will provide guidance on how the information may be obtained. You may also wish to consider using an independent contractor to carry out your own survey of your land.

Water pipes in your land

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We have the power under Section 159 of the Water Industry Act 1991 to lay a water pipe and to keep that pipe in private land. This includes the power to carry out any works necessary for the purpose of carrying out our functions such as inspecting, maintaining, adjusting, repairing and altering any water main, resource main, discharge pipe or service pipe laid in private land.

It is a criminal offence under section 174 of the Water Industry Act 1991 to intentionally or recklessly interfere with any water main or other pipe vested in any water undertaker. An Interference can consist of building too close to or obstructing our water pipes in your land.

Obstruction of our water pipes

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We cannot allow any obstruction over or close to our water pipes because of the risk this creates in the event of a burst or a leak on the pipe. If a burst or leak does occur then the presence of a permanent obstruction makes it very difficult for us to access to carry out any necessary repair.

For example, if a building has been constructed over our water pipe and the pipe bursts, this would cause substantial damage and may endanger the structure of the building, possibly to the point of collapse. An undetected long-term leak can erode building foundations causing a similar threat to the structure of a building situated over the leaking pipe. The weight of the building places additional stress on the underlying pipe making it much more likely that a burst or leak will occur than would usually be the case. These risks are compounded by our inability to access the mains to carry out any necessary maintenance and repair.

If there are water pipes in your land which will affect your proposed development, you will need to consider whether to alter your plans to enable you to build a safe distance from our water pipes, or to make an application to divert the water pipes away from the proposed area of development. These options are set out in more detail below.

Building near our water pipes

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You may be able to continue with your proposed development provided you build a safe distance from the water pipes. Our Building Near Pipes and Apparatus guide sets out the safe distances of any development of the land, according to the size and purpose of the water pipe and the type of proposed development. We need to ensure we have access to our water pipes and any apparatus at all times, including access for any such plant or machinery necessary for carrying out maintenance or repair works to our assets in private land.

Read our Building Near Pipes and Apparatus guide (PDF 755KB) >

Diversion of water pipes in land

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If there is a water pipe or apparatus belonging to Affinity Water laid on, under or over land belonging to you or adjacent to land which you own, and which you're proposing to develop, you can request Affinity Water to alter or remove the pipe/apparatus by completing an application form for a diversion.

We will undertake the diversion works at your cost in accordance with the statutory provisions under Section 185 of the Water Industry Act 1991. You will be issued with a cost quote following completion of a survey. We will not carry out diversion works where the pipe/apparatus is laid in a street or where the requirement to divert is, in our view, unreasonable.

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