Wonderful on Tap

Water supply pipe upgrade

We’re replacing lead and leaking water supply pipes in the Coventry area, upgrading your homes’ pipes to help bring our water to you at its best.

We want to make sure we all have plenty of our wonderful water - today, tomorrow and in the years to come.

That’s why we’ve launched our Green Recovery Programme. Green Recovery is a range of exciting projects that will run up to March 2025, updating our water networks, making our region an even better place to live and using the latest technology to create a new Severn Trent fit for the future.

One of the things we’re doing right now across Coventry is upgrading customers’ old water supply pipes – at no cost. 

It’s our water, together, let’s do right by it.

What we're doing

Your supply pipe links your home to our water mains. It’s what brings our fresh water to you every day. Older pipes have a higher risk of leaks. Your pipes might even be made from lead – especially if your home was built before 1970. 

As part of this project, we’re offering to replace these older pipes at no cost to you. Normally this might cost you between £1,000 and £3,000, as the supply pipe is your responsibility. We’ll be upgrading existing water supply pipes in up to 25,000 homes in Coventry. We could replace your old supply pipe with a new, industry-standard 25mm plastic pipe.   

We’re currently working in areas that have high levels of lead. We’ll contact you when we’re working in your area, but you can still register your interest today and we’ll be in touch.  

Why we are doing it

Check if you qualify

To see if we can upgrade your supply pipes, we'll need to complete an inspection.

To qualify, you must currently have at least one of the following:

You must also:

Housing Association tenants

As part of the scheme, we’re working closely with local Housing Associations to upgrade your water supply pipes. This means that your property may already be approved to receive a water supply pipe upgrade at no cost to you.  

If you’re a tenant with Citizen or Midland Heart*, your housing association has already signed-up to have your supply pipe upgraded on your behalf. So you don’t need to sign-up to the scheme – you’re already on board! Just look out for a letter or email from us that will let you know when we're working in your area.  

*For all other housing association tenants, if you would like to have your water supply pipes upgraded, please give us a call for more information on 0800 917 2477. 

Apply to get your pipes replaced

If your postcode qualifies, you can start your application to upgrade your pipes.

If you’d prefer to speak to us about applying, give us a call on 0800 917 2477.

How it works

A step-by-step guide to what we'll do when we upgrade your supply pipes.

After you apply to have your water supply pipe replaced, we'll contact you to arrange an inspection.

On inspection day, we’ll call you before they arrive to make sure you're at home.

When we arrive, we'll check inside and outside your home for: 

  • where your supply pipes and stop taps are
  • if you share your supply pipes with your neighbours

After that, we'll talk to you about what happens next and explain how we'll install the new supply pipes

If you share your water supply with your neighbour(s), we can't update your pipe unless they sign-up too. If we find you're on a joint supply, we'll be in touch with your neighbour but it's a good idea to talk to them about it too.

On installation day, we'll put up any necessary barriers and road traffic signs to make sure the area is safe for you, our team and people in the area.

It’s likely that we’ll be replacing pipes for your neighbours at around the same time.

There are two ways we can install your new supply pipes: 

1. Tunnelling underground using a tool called a mole

2. Digging an open trench

Where possible, we’ll use technology to reduce disruption. We can only advise which installation method we will use when the team have completed the inspection.

Once we’ve installed your new supply pipes, we’ll reconnect your water supply to your new pipework and test everything.

Your old lead pipes will remain in the ground.  

After we've installed your new pipes, it's time for us to re-fill the holes and repair any ground surfaces. We call this reinstatement.

If we've had to dig up any part of your driveway, paths or any other part of your property, we'll talk to you about how we'll do this reinstatement and what materials we'll use.

Carrying out the work

You’ll either see a team from Severn Trent or one of our local partners – qualified plumbers who’ve we’ve approved to do these works. We're currently working with OnSite, Keltek, Brays Pipelines, S&R Construction and Heartland Pipelines to upgrade Coventry's water supply. 

Ourselves and our partners will work with you to make the process as easy and efficient as possible. If you have any questions about who will complete your work, you can contact us on 0800 917 2477.

During the pipe upgrade, we’ll need constant access to your property, so you’ll need to be at home while we do the work.

In some circumstances, it could take us up to three days to complete the upgrade.

After we’ve visited for an initial inspection, the team will arrange dates and talk to you about what the work will involve.

In some cases, upgrading your pipes may not be possible but our team will offer advice on what you can do. 

Our Partners

We're working with contractors across Coventry to complete the majority of our supply pipe replacements. You may see these companies knock on your door enquiring about inspecting your current supply pipe.

Choose your own plumber

If you decide not to use a Severn Trent plumber and use an industry approved plumber, we will provide a £1,300 grant contribution towards the cost of the supply pipe replacement. This is part of our Supply Pipe Replacement Grant Scheme

Due to popular demand, there is currently a waiting list to get your pipes replaced by Severn Trent. By choosing your own plumber, you could potentially get your pipes replaced quicker.

A smarter way to use water

As part of the supply pipe upgrade, we’ll arrange for you to have a smart meter, which will identify if there are any problems, like a local leak. It will also show how your household uses water. 

If you already have a water meter, we’ll upgrade yours to a smart meter. If you don’t already have a meter you won’t have to change how you get billed by us. But if you can save money by switching to a smart meter, we’ll let you know.

  • More control - see how much water your home uses - weekly, daily and hourly.
  • Save water, save money - using less water not only means that you can reduce your water bill, but also your gas and electricity bills as your appliances use lots of water.
  • In tune with you - get your own personalised monthly report based on how your household uses water, offering handy tips and tricks to save water.
  • Spot leaks quickly - smart meters can detect small leaks early so you can fix them before they become a big problem, potentially saving you time and money.  
  • Help save our planet - using less water can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint. 

If you don’t already have a meter you won’t have to change how you get billed by us. Find out more about the benefits of a smart meter.

Your supply pipe

The pipes we’re replacing belong to you (or your landlord if you’re renting). Normally if there’s a problem with them you have to pay to get them fixed.

Your supply pipe runs from your home to our communication pipe – which belongs to Severn Trent.

This communication pipe then connects on to our water main, which brings fresh water to everyone in your street. We’re responsible for these pipes.

In some homes, your supply pipe might be shared with one or more of your neighbours. When we upgrade your pipe, we’ll give each of you one of your own.

How to find out if you have lead pipes

You can check if you have lead water pipes in a few simple steps. 

Before you begin, you will need: 

  • a coin 
  • safety glasses 
  • a facemask 

First, find your main water pipe. This is usually under your kitchen sink, by your downstairs toilet, or in a cupboard under the stairs. 

Check the colour of the pipe. If it's a brownish colour, it may be copper. If it's a dull grey, it's likely to be lead.  

If the pipe looks swollen at the joints, that's another sign it's lead. If the pipe is dull grey or swollen, make sure you put your safety glasses and facemask on before you do anything else. 

Next, use the coin to gently scrape the pipe. If the scratches are a shiny silver colour underneath, it's a lead pipe. 


If you have lead pipes but don't live in Coventry

If you don’t live in one of our Coventry trial areas, you can still get your pipes replaced. You can replace your lead pipes using our region-wide lead pipe replacement scheme.  

We also have advice on how to reduce the health risks if you do have lead pipes.  

How to reduce health risks of having lead pipes

Since 1970, it's been illegal for builders and plumbers to use lead pipes for drinking water. There's no legal need for homeowners to replace existing lead pipes, but it can help reduce health risks. Over time lead from lead pipes can get into your drinking water and damage your health.  

While you still have lead pipes, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk. Run the cold tap for at least two minutes at the start and end of every day. This will clear the water that’s been in contact with the lead pipe overnight. 

You may need to run your tap for slightly longer than two minutes if you’ve got a very long lead service pipe. This is common if you live in a farmhouse, for example. To make sure you don't waste the water you run off, you could collect it in a bowl or bottle and use it to water plants. 

Part of our 7 Green Recovery Initiatives