The CON29DW Explained – water and sewerage services

Our monthly look at the questions in the CON29DW moves onto section 4 – charging – with a look at the suppliers of sewerage and water services.

Question 4.1 of the CON29DW is split into two sections, 4.1.1, which asks “who is responsible for providing the sewerage services at the property?” and 4.1.2, which asks the same for water services.

While it may seem obvious to assume that the same water company would be responsible for both services, in reality, this is not always the case.

Throughout England and Wales there are ten water and waste water companies that supply both services. Besides Severn Trent, there’s also Anglian Water, Welsh Water, Northumbrian Water, South West Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, United Utilities, Wessex Water and Yorkshire Water.

The boundaries of these companies are, for a variety of historical and logistical reasons, not identical for water and sewerage services, and so in areas where companies border each other, one may supply clean water, and another sewerage services. For example, Severn Trent shares borders with several companies, primarily Yorkshire, Anglian and Wessex Water and many properties in border areas will receive one service from Severn Trent and one from a neighbouring company.

There’s also a number of smaller companies which provide water, but do not deal with waste. Within the Severn Trent region, South Staffs Water cover parts of Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Elsewhere in the country, there’s several other large water suppliers such as Bristol Water and South East Water, and a number of smaller suppliers. Within these suppliers’ regions, they will supply clean water services, and one of the combined water and sewerage undertakers will provide sewerage services. The company who is supplying water will generally bill householders for both services.

The Aldershot NAV project

Less common than cross border sharing of services, is where a company provides services completely outside of its normal geographic area. There have always been historical anomalies, but these areas are becoming more common through a process called New Appointments and Variations (or NAVs for short), where water companies can apply to OFWAT to provide services to different areas. For example, Severn Trent recently completed an agreement to provide services to a development just outside Aldershot, well outside its geographic region. You can read more about NAVs here.

One final point regarding suppliers, and one which is particularly pertinent to those working in conveyancing: regardless of who supplies water to a property, the CON29DW will be completed by one of the ten sewerage undertaker’s search services. So for properties where water is supplied by Yorkshire Water and sewerage services by Severn Trent, the search would be completed by ourselves. If you’re unsure which company provides sewerage services for a property, this website will tell you. Alternatively, you may order through ourselves and we’ll obtain the search on your behalf.