Replacing London's Victorian water mains

Last reviewed:

Although we have made major investment over the past ten years, water pipes in many areas of London and some parts of the Thames Valley are still among the oldest in the UK, and they need replacing.

So far we've replaced more than 1,600 miles of old water mains, to reduce leaks and bursts and improve supplies for a growing population.

This work is particularly important, as water resources in London and the South East are being put under increasing pressure from the effects of climate change and a growing population.

Although the original Victorian, cast iron mains have served us well, they're old and more likely to leak or burst. So we're replacing the oldest, leakiest pipes first with tough new plastic ones.

Although the work means some short-term disruption, it will bring many long-term benefits - as the more old pipes we replace now, the fewer burst mains, leaks and disruption there will be in the future.

Our current areas of focus are:

  • Camden - Finchley Road and Belsize, Finchley and Frognal, Regent's Park
  • Islington - Holloway
  • Hackney - Homerton, Daubeney Fields
  • Haringey - Northumberland Park, Tottenham. Tottenham Hale, Highgate.
  • Lewisham - Honor Oak

There will be more information on our areas of focus coming soon.

Easing congestion in the capital

In April 2009, we became the first UK utility to start using road plates, which enable motorists to drive straight over open roadwork trenches dug as part of our Victorian mains replacement programme.
Our high-strength plastic plates are light enough to be laid over holes by workmen during rush hour, then removed so work can resume when the traffic dies down.

That's a lot of traffic jams averted and hopefully, a lot of lives made that little bit easier.

Unfortunately, our work does sometimes disrupt traffic, which is why we've made plates compulsory at every appropriate mains replacement site in central London.