Landowner resources

Our landowner resources page contains guidance documents for landowners whose land is crossed by our pipes.

Landowner guidance

These guidance documents cover:

  • The general principles that we will adhere to when exercising land entry rights over your land.
  • Our Code of Practice in relation to pipe laying and other works on your land.
  • The requirements and restrictions that apply to you, your contractors and any other individuals authorised by you in relation to our pipes that cross your land.
  • A guide to tree planting near our pipes.

If you are a developer, please see our locate existing assets page

Dial before you dig

Millions of holes are dug every day across the country, yet many people don’t check before they dig.

Bristol Water maintains 7000km of underground water pipes and these are at constant risk of damage by people digging without knowing what’s below them or taking adequate precautions.

On average, we experience around 150 incidents caused by third party damage every year. This can be catastrophic. Water in these pipes is under pressure and damaged pipes could cause injury to you or others around you, harm to the surrounding area and natural environment.

The costs of repairs, fines and fees can be significant and cause lengthy delays to your project, so please check before you dig.

Water pouring out of a hole in the ground

What you need to know

  • Ground cover should not be reduced or increased.
  • Routine agricultural activities, including ploughing (up to 0.5m depth), are permitted unless there has been a reduction in ground cover.
  • Always call Bristol Water before installing fencing and gate posts deeper than 0.5m.
  • Materials should not be stacked or stored above water pipelines.
  • Pipelines can change direction and may not always run in a straight line.
  • Mapping is a guide only and every effort must be taken to ascertain exact location prior to using machinery near water assets.
  • Written approval must be gained from Bristol Water before you plant trees or shrubs on the easement strip above a water pipeline.
  • If necessary or requested, a technician
    will visit the site to locate, mark out the water pipeline and advise on what
    works can and can’t be done safely - this is a free service.
2 Bristol Water staff smiling

You’re not permitted to work within 2.5 meters of a public water main, and this distance may increase where necessary to protect our assets, as stated in the adjacent table. We must have unrestricted access to repair, maintain or renew the main as required. If you propose to construct closer to the water mains than the stated criteria you will be expected to pay for the water main to be diverted.

Diameter of water main Minimum distance from centreline of the pipe to structure
<169mm 2.5m
>170mm to <299mm 3m
>300mm to <449mm 4m
>450mm to <649mm 5m
>650mm 6m