We recognise that some customers are facing extreme financial difficulty and we don’t want anyone to worry about paying their water bill. If your circumstances have changed and you’re struggling, or you think you might struggle in future, please get in touch with us by completing our online enquiry form. One of our team will give you a call to talk about how we can help.
Coronavirus update for customers
We want to keep you informed about what we are doing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Last updated 07 April 2020
How is Wessex Water preparing to deal with COVID19?
We are following the very latest government advice to protect our customers and colleagues and to continue to supply safe drinking water and sewerage services as normal.
The World Health Organisation says there is no risk to tap water which is disinfected with chlorine to kill harmful bacteria as part of the treatment process.
While this is a challenging time for everyone, we have tried and tested plans which we have put into action to ensure our services are delivered safely.
This means you might see Wessex Water vans and our workforce out and about working on our water supply and sewerage networks carrying out essential routine work or dealing with emergencies. These individuals are ‘key workers’ so are permitted to be working in the highway, at our sites, or travelling to and from locations to ensure essential public services are maintained. Find out more about what our key workers are doing.
We are focusing on our essential services to customers and it is likely that we might have to cancel some non-urgent work. We’re sorry if this causes some disruption but it’s an important part of our plan to keep everything going as normal and keep our people safe.
Washing your hands more only uses a very small amount of water and this won’t have a significant impact on your water bill. To help save water, you can always turn your tap off while you’re lathering up the soap. We don’t want anyone to worry about paying their water bill. Get in touch with us directly and we’ll have a look at your account and see how we can help.
In recognition of NHS workers who are washing their own uniforms at home during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, we're providing a rebate of up to £50 to cover the cost of additional water used.
To be eligible you must:
- receive your water supply from Wessex Water
- be on a water meter, and
- be a frontline NHS worker who is required to wash the uniform given to you by your employer.
If you’re a business customer, or any other type of non-household customer, please contact your retailer to discuss your bill. You can find their contact details on your most recent water bill.
Before we turn up to your home, we’ll be calling you to make sure that nobody in your household is ill with coronavirus or self-isolating. If everyone is fine, we’ll continue to do the work as planned. If you or someone in your home is self-isolating, then we will need to assess how urgent the work is. We might be able to reschedule, or we might be able to take additional steps to help protect our colleagues.
All our employees have been provided with safety equipment and the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England to minimise the risk and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. If you're worried about having one of our colleagues enter your home, please let us know and we'll rearrange non-urgent appointments.
It's rare that a Wessex Water employee should need to enter your home, without you knowing beforehand why we're visiting. All staff carry a photographic identification card that can be verified by calling us on 0345 600 4 600. Do not let anyone into your home if you are in any doubt. If you think someone is not a real Wessex Water employee, contact the police immediately.
All our colleagues have been provided with safety equipment and the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England to minimise the risk and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. We will not normally need to enter your home during roadworks, so there is no additional risk to you. If we do need to carry out work in your home, please get in touch with us if you have any concerns.
We regularly flush our pipes to keep the quality of our water up to the excellent standards that you would expect. We understand that customers may be concerned about work that could impact their water supply at this time and we want to reassure you that we don’t intend to disrupt your water supply as part of this work. The majority of customers don’t notice any impact when we’re flushing pipes but occasionally some customers might experience discoloured water for a short time after the work. Advice on how to clear the discoloured water can be found in the letter you received prior to the work, or on our water quality pages
If you're self-isolating for seven or 14 days, there is no need for you to sign up to Priority Services, unless you have a physical impairment or chronic illness and haven't already signed up to our register. Customers who are in the "high risk" group, and told not to leave their home at all, may wish to sign up to Priority Services so we can provide extra support.
It’s very rare that we interrupt your water supply and if we do, it usually only happens for a short period of time. If you do experience an interruption to your water supply while you’re self-isolating and you are worried, please get in touch and we will do our best to help. If you are otherwise healthy and don’t normally need extra support, there is no need to join the Priority Services register.
No - this could cause a blockage and result in sewage backing up into your home or a neighbour's. You can help us during this time by putting wet wipes, kitchen roll, cleaning cloths and facial tissues in the bin. Follow our advice on how to protect your home from blockages.
There is no evidence of illness caused by faecal oral transmission, for this or previous similar outbreaks. While evidence exists to show coronavirus is found in the faeces of patients, scientific evidence has shown that its survival in sewage is poor - due to the virus having a lipid based outer envelope. We can assure you that we are assessing the scientific evidence available to ensure employees are informed about risk. In line with current advice, the most effective form of protection is to maintain high levels of hygiene - such as thoroughly washing hands, using personal protective equipment and maintaining at least 2m distance between yourselves and others.
Based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, scientists have confirmed the presence of Covid-19 in sewage is low, therefore risk of transmission through sewage is low.
When we treat drinking water before we supply it to your taps, we add a small amount of chlorine to disinfect the water. The World Health Organisation advises that this way of treating water kills the virus.
Discoloured water is usually only temporary and can often be cleared by allowing the first incoming cold water tap (so the one nearest to your stop tap) to run for five minutes to help clear the water. We’ve got more information on what to do if you’ve got discoloured water on our water quality pages
It’s rare for anyone’s water supply to be interrupted by a burst pipe but it can occasionally happen. We treat this as emergency work and our technicians re-route the water supply and sometimes use tankers to get everyone’s water back on before we start fixing the damaged section of pipe. We understand that the current coronavirus situation means that people need to be able to wash their hands frequently and that any interruption to supply will be worrying. We always work hard to get water supplies back on as soon as possible and will provide updates on our website and social media channels. If you have a medical condition which means you would struggle to manage without a clean water supply for a short period of time, please contact us to let us know and we will add you to our Priority Services register. We can then provide you with additional help during an interruption to your water supply, such as access to bottled water.
Water consumption is currently running at about 2% more than normal, so we have not seen a significant increase in consumption as a result of additional handwashing. Handwashing does not use large amounts of water compared to running a bath or using a dishwasher, but as an example, if you are on a water meter and you use an additional 10 litres a day for handwashing, the cost for water and sewerage services would be around four pence. To save water while handwashing, turn the tap off as you are lathering soap into your hands and only turn it back on to rinse.