Ensuring clean, fresh tap water continues to flow to our customers’ taps 24 hours a day, seven days a week is one of our top priorities.
That’s why between 2015 and 2020 we’re investing more than £424 million upgrading old water mains, installing new pipelines, improving our water treatment works and maintaining our reservoirs – so when you turn on your tap, you only get the best quality water.
Some of this improvement work takes place on our own sites, however a lot also happens along roads and in public areas. We work with a range of specialist contractors to carry out this important work, however the team you’ll see out on the streets is Clancy Docwra, which works closely with us to plan and undertake pipe laying projects in highways.
Working in your area
To find out more about upcoming projects in your area, visit our interactive map.
Just type in your postcode to see planned events, supply interruptions and planned improvement works. You can also register for free updates via SMS and email.
We have 14,500km of water mains to manage and maintain and like the human body, these hidden arteries pump water to homes and businesses across our region with most buried deep beneath roads.
We know roadworks can be frustrating, and that’s why we always aim to complete all our projects as efficiently as possible.
The safety of the public is our top priority and we work closely with highways teams across Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire to ensure that suitable traffic management is in place for all our roadworks. This can include signs, traffic lights and road closures.
If we’re going to be working in your area we’ll always endeavour to write to residents and businesses who may be effected. These letters provide specific information about the planned work and how it will be carried out.
On schemes which may have a big impact on the local area, we hold drop-in sessions for residents, work with local councils and create dedicated webpages where scheme updates are placed. Keeping communities informed is important to us and so you may also spot us at local events and talks if we’re working in your area.
Claiming for loss of business
We work hard to mitigate the impact of our works in the community. However, if you are directly affected by our works, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any loss caused or damage done. To make a claim, please complete our online form here.
Guidance notes for claiming can be found here.
Will I have access to my property?
Yes, pedestrian access will be maintained at all times but you may have to wait a few minutes for our contractors to place metal plates over an excavation near your property to make it safe to walk over.
Vehicle access will be maintained or reinstated as far as or as quickly as possible.
Will the emergency services have access?
Yes, the emergency services are made aware of road closures and diversions in advance and we ensure they are given access.
Will the water supply be interrupted?
Sometimes we need to shut off the water supply, for example when making new connections, but if this is the case you will be notified in writing in advance.
I run a business. Can I claim compensation for lost business?
When upgrading and installing new water mains we work hard to make sure we complete our work as quickly as possible with minimum disruption.
Our engineers and site contractor teams liaise with individual businesses as schemes progress, working together to ensure deliveries can get through and customers can still access shops, restaurants and businesses.
In the unlikely event this has not been successful, we will review individual claims for loss of profit on a case-by-case basis.
Please click here to fill out our online claim form.
What about bus services?
We contact bus companies if our work affects their routes and services. They will then notify their own customers about any diversions or changes to bus services and bus stops.
What about deliveries to my property?
Our contractors will give delivery drivers access to your property where possible.
In certain circumstances they will set up a dedicated parcel delivery point and if this is to be the case you will be notified in the letter accompanying this leaflet.
If you are moving home and expecting a removal van or lorry, please speak to our contractors on site or contact us directly. Where possible, we will work with you to provide access to the road and minimise any disruption.
What about refuse collection?
Bins should be put out as normal. Our contractors will work with refuse collectors to get them emptied and returned to you.
You are digging up the footpath. Where do we walk?
Any alternative pavement and road crossings will be clearly signposted and safe to use.
I have additional needs and must have a guaranteed water supply. What do I do?
We will always accommodate the need for a guaranteed water supply for medical or other reasons.
We advise customers with additional needs to sign up to our Priority Services Register for a wide range of free benefits. Find out more: southeastwater.co.uk/help-for-priority-customers
Will you be reinstating the road, footpath and verges?
At the end of every scheme, we return the site to normal by reinstating road surfaces, pavements and verges.
Sometimes verge reinstatement is weather and / or season dependent but over time verges will return to normal.
Will you be using traffic signals and will there be diversion route?
In order to keep road users and our workforce safe we may need to install temporary traffic lights or close the road, and we make this decision together with the county's highways department.
If we close a road, diversion routes are agreed with the local highways authority and will be clearly signposted.
The letter you received with this leaflet will explain what measures are in place for this particular project.
Please note that we do not compensate for any additional mileage incurred due to road diversions.
What about signage?
We work closely with the local highways authority and our contractors to ensure accurate and plentiful signage notifying road users of street works.
Signs often include advance notice of work, diversion routes and ‘businesses open as usual’ where appropriate.
Who has authorised this work and who knows about it?
Street works can only be undertaken with the permission of the local highways authority which grants licences for specific work to be undertaken at a specific site or sites for a specific amount of time.
Once we have approval, we write to all the customers we believe will need to know about the work, to local authorities including county, district and parish councils and to the local MP, in advance of the work.
Will there be a drop-in session where I can gather more information?
In some cases we organise informal drop-in sessions at local venues where our engineers are available to meet local people requiring further information about a scheme.
If this applies in your case, you'll receive a letter about the work with details of the drop-in session.
Will there be any advertising or newspaper coverage about the work?
Depending on the nature of the work we may advertise on local radio or in the media and issue press releases detailing what we are going to do and how long the scheme is likely to take.
Why do you need to dig up the roads for this type of work?
The Water Industry Act of 1991 places a legal obligation on a water company to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system of water supply within its area and to ensure that all such arrangements have been made:
(a) For providing supplies of water to premises in that area and for making such supplies available to persons who demand them; and
(b) For maintaining, improving and extending the water mains and other pipes, as are necessary for securing that the company is and continues to be able to meet its obligations.
Most of the water supply network is laid in roads, pavements and verges and also in private land where we have special powers to undertake work.