Consumer: Frustration over cost of re-piping water supplies

Brent Haigh, with his property, far left, and his neighbour's, far right, where the supply starts.

Brent Haigh, with his property, far left, and his neighbour's, far right, where the supply starts.

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A frustrated homeowner has been told he will have to pay to re-pipe his road after learning his water supply comes through two houses before it reaches his own.

Fed-up Brent Haigh uncovered his unconventional water supply route after his tenants contacted him to say they had no water at his property on Highbury Road, near Headingley.

He is now warning others to check their pipe supplies in case faced with a similar situation.

In Mr Haigh’s case, it emerged a problem at a house 50 yards away had led to an emergency plumber shutting off the water supply - not knowing the pipe fed through another property into Mr Haigh’s house down the 
road.

Mr Haigh’s tenants were left without water for 30 hours while he was forced to call out his own plumber after a wrangle with Yorkshire Water over who was responsible.

Mr Haigh, who has owned the house since 1992, believes the pipework is a historical set-up, as the property was built at the turn of the century, and said he has been warned a supply problem could happen again.

But when he contacted Yorkshire Water he was told he was responsible for the cost to re-pipe his water supply – as it was within a boundary wall and the problem was not with the actual water main supplied by them.

But Mr Haigh said that stance feels unfair. He said: “It feels like I’m paying for infrastructure beyond my boundary for the water supply, when Yorkshire Water have been supplying me down that pipe. It just seems irresponsible really.

“If they have been using that pipe for the last 20 odd years to supply water down to my property, surely there must be some maintenance that I’m paying for with the water supply?

“If it was inside my boundary, you would expect it to be your responsibility. 
“But outside, you would expect it to be Yorkshire Water’s responsibility.”

“This is a problem that lots of people could potentially be facing – and they would only find out in the worst case scenario – when they have an emergency situation.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We understand the frustration felt by Mr Haigh but Yorkshire Water is only responsible for the water supply up to the boundary of a property, not the arrangements within.

“On this occasion, it appears that another party has installed the joint use system which is causing this issue on this street and we have offered to resolve the issue for the customer at a cost.”

For more information on his issue, or advice, visit the Yorkshire Water website at http://www.yorkshirewater.com/your-water-services/are-you-winter-ready/pipework-responsibilities.aspx.

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