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How we manage incidents and support our customers

While we take immense pride in providing a reliable and high-quality water supply to over 3.89 million people in the Southeast, we recognise that unforeseen incidents can occur. Our teams work non-stop, every day of the year, to provide continuous incident support. We focus on monitoring, adjusting, and controlling our water network to make sure that your water keeps flowing most of the time. However, sometimes things can go wrong.

What can cause an incident?

From burst mains during extreme weather conditions to water pump or valve issues, power cuts, or surges in customer demand during hot weather, various factors can temporarily disrupt your water supply. Our teams work tirelessly to address these issues promptly, but we understand the inconvenience it can cause.

How we keep you informed

Website Updates: Check out our alerts page for the latest information, including details on the incident, what we're doing, alternative water plans, advice on what you can do, and when the next update is due.

SMS Text Alerts: You can sign up for free SMS text alerts on our alerts page or through My Account.

Social Media: Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) for real-time incident updates and direct communication from 8am to 6pm.

Local Updates: For major incidents, we collaborate with local media, MPs, councillors, and government agencies to keep everyone informed.

Non-households: We also liaise with businesses, hospitals, schools, and other organisations that may be affected and try whenever possible to accommodate their needs.

If you’re a non-household and need to report an emergency, please call us on 0345 357 2407 or see our webpage for more information on works in your area and compensation for loss of business.

For more information on our commitment to non-households, view our Guaranteed Standards leaflet.

What you can do during an incident

If you experience disruptions, check our website first, ask your neighbours, and report the issue online or call our emergency line at 0345 357 2407. We’re here to investigate and resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Blue kettle boiling with blue and yellow mug

 

What can or can’t I use at home if my water is off?

If your water supply is interrupted, please don’t use:

  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Electrical appliances that use water (e.g., coffee machines, water dispensers).
  • Be mindful of your central heating system and follow specific guidelines outlined on the incident page.
  • You also won’t be able to flush your toilet, but if you have a water butt, you could collect water from there to pour into your toilet.

What can or can’t I do at home if there’s a problem with the water quality?

We conduct rigorous testing to maintain water quality. If we think there’s a problem with the quality of your drinking water, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and give you advice on what to do. We’ll also provide alternative water where necessary.

In rare cases, we might advise boiling water as a precaution, or we may ask you to not use your water at all.

Updates and guidance will be provided promptly through our alerts page and SMS alerts.

Putting a blue mug in the dishwasher

 

What happens when the water supply comes back on?

Your water may be discoloured or cloudy; don’t worry this is normal. We know it doesn’t look nice, but it’s not harmful, and you can help by running your cold kitchen tap until it’s clear. 

It’s common for air to be in your pipes after a supply interruption, so it may come out very suddenly and splutter. Simply turn on your tap slowly, and it will settle down.

How we respond to incidents

Our teams are on hand to respond straight away to any incident to make sure your supply gets back to normal as quickly as possible. Depending on the type of incident, there may be things happening out on-site and behind the scenes, plus we have all hands on deck to keep our customers updated with the latest information.

  • Rerouting water in our network: We use the latest software and tools to work out if we can divert water from elsewhere in our network.
  • Adjusting water production: Our control centre can increase the production of water from any of our water treatment works, to either help build up levels in our towers or underground reservoirs or help with routing more water where it’s needed.
  • Working with other water companies: We supply water across three different areas in the Southeast, so in some cases we’re able to call upon our neighbouring water companies to help with transferring supplies to us if we need them.
  • Alternative water: If it’s unexpected or we think your supply will be interrupted for a long time, we’ll always do what we can to make sure you have an alternative supply of water. This could be delivering water to our most vulnerable customers, arranging tankers, or setting up bottled water stations for collection.
  • Extra team members, equipment, and tools: We have team members on standby 24 hours a day that we can call on for extra support. We’re also able to get anything extra we may need, like sandbags, salt and grit, and specialised fixtures and fittings.

When it comes to repairing burst pipes, there’s a lot involved, so please be patient with us.

Help and Support

Families with young children, people with medical conditions, or people with difficulty accessing water can receive additional support. If you need extra assistance during disruptions, you can register for Priority Services.

Once you sign up for Priority Services, we’ll be able to help you get assistance to suit your individual needs whenever we are working in your area.

For longer interruptions, bottled water will be provided if you need additional assistance during our work or if you’re unable to collect water from a bottled water station.

Our responsibility to you

We’re regulated by Ofwat and DWI and have a responsibility to restore your water supply within 12 hours. If we fail to meet this, we’ll pay you £30 and a further £30 for each subsequent 12-hour period you have no water.

This will be processed automatically, and we’ll let you know within 20 working days. If we don’t make the payment automatically, a further penalty payment may also be due. For more information on this, view our Guaranteed Standards leaflet.

If the interruption lasts more than 12 hours, we’ll provide a suitable alternative water supply. This could be bottled water, tankers, or other temporary equipment. We’ll let you know where and how you’ll receive this water.

Frequently asked questions

  • What do I do if there’s flooding or damage to my property?

    If a burst mains pipe has led to flooding or damage to your property, please call our emergency line on 0345 357 2407.

  • How do I get in touch if I’m not happy during or after an incident?

    The quickest way to resolve your complaint is to call us, so we can talk things through together and help get it sorted out for you there and then. For help with your water supply, call us on 0345 357 2407. 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

    If you’d prefer, you can write to us.

  • How do I identify Affinity Water staff?

    In most cases, our teams will be wearing branded clothing. However, in emergencies, when we rely on our wider teams to help distribute bottled water, they might be wearing normal clothing. All of our teams will be carrying and ready to happily present an Affinity Water Identification badge with their photograph on the front. Contractors working on behalf of Affinity Water will also be carrying identification.

    If you ever have any concerns about the authenticity of our staff, please refer to this page here.

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