It is likely that water companies will be required to adopt private supply pipes in the future. Understanding the most cost-effective strategies for adoption and management will reduce business risk and allow a smooth transition for customers.
Defra has signalled its intent that water companies should adopt supply pipes to ensure long-term good asset stewardship from source to tap. Water companies are already challenged to minimise leakage and meet the new 10 μg/l water quality standard for lead at the customer tap. Adoption of customer supply pipes will allow companies to tackle these issues but there is a need to understand the likely cost and service implications. This will allow the smooth transition of supply pipe ownership from consumers to water companies with least business risk.
- Reduction in business planning risk for PR19.
- Better management of customer relationship post-adoption ensuring a stable or improving SIM position.
- Potential to reduce the anticipated increase in OPEX by up to £1m per annum by selecting the most cost-effective post-adoption management strategy.
The project will evaluate the options for adoption based on the various supply pipe arrangements prevalent in the UK water industry. Approaches will be developed for managing supply pipes, which will meet the challenges of rights of access, and management of leakage and water quality. The costs and benefits of alternative management approaches will be quantified.
Guidance will be provided on how to manage supply pipes to give customers the best possible experience. A cost model will be provided to enable companies to develop their own strategies and business cases for supply pipe adoption and management.
We will use our experience from the recent adoption of private sewers and drains undertaken by water and sewerage companies to inform this project. This will enable water companies to engage with regulators to ensure a smoother adoption process with reduced business risk.