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Authorised officials of a water company are granted a wide range powers to enter your home for various purposes under the Water Industry Act 1991 . For example, an official may enter any premises at a reasonable hour in order to:
- Inspect water meters.
- Ascertain whether there has been any contravention of the law relating to water supplies .
- Detect waste or contamination or misuse of water.
In most cases 24 hours’ notice must be given . Entry can be obtained in an emergency or under a warrant.
It is an offence intentionally to obstruct a water official company lawfully exercising his or her rights of entry: the maximum fine you could face on conviction depends upon the particular powers which the official was attempting to exercise, and will either be a level 1 fine on the standard scale (currently £200) or a level 3 fine on the standard scale (currently £1,000).
When exercising certain powers of entry, the water company must make sure that it leaves your premises as effectively secured against trespassers as they found it. You may in certain circumstances be entitled to compensation from the water company for loss or damage resulting from their entry to your home, or from their failure to secure your property after leaving it.
An authorised water official may also, in certain circumstances enter your home in connection with water contamination, waste or misuse of water, or damage to fittings if you have failed to comply with remedial steps which they have lawfully required you to take . If it reaches that stage, the water company may be entitled to recover from you the expenses of their operation in appropriate cases,.
For further details of these powers, see Schedule 6 of the Water Industry Act 1991 in particular.