Wednesday, 24th April 2019


Water network operatives work on the pipelines that connect homes and businesses to the main water supplies. Working for the big water companies, water network operatives will look after the pipes, mains and pumping stations. They are responsible for ensuring that the water networks are routinely serviced and maintained, so that the public have access to water and have working drainage systems.

Water network operatives will conduct routine and planned maintenance work on all water systems, including drainage systems and the removal of sewage as well as supplying fresh water to homes and businesses. They could be stationed at a main water supply or reservoir, or could be out on the roads servicing the underground pipelines.

Water network operatives will work to maintain the current water networks in their area, in small teams, drilling and digging up road surfaces and servicing the networks. They also connect major water lines to smaller neighbourhoods, or new-build homes.

Typical tasks and daily duties of a water network operative might include the following:

  • Digging holes by hand or using drilling equipment
  • Laying and repairing pipes and mains
  • Installing water meters and hydrants
  • Monitoring CCTV to check for blockages or leaks in the mains
  • Sticking to detail maps and diagrams about where to dig and service
  • Using high pressure jets to clear blockages
  • Creating links between the main water supply buildings and homes and businesses
  • Replacing road surfaces after gas work, and filling holes

The work involves adhering to very strict safety procedures, with high standards set not only by their employer but also by the government’s Health and Safety Executive. Therefore, the job requires specific training and good teamwork. The work can be physically demanding as it mainly based outdoors working in various weather conditions, and there can be a lot of travel when working on different sites.

Depending on the project, water network operatives might find themselves working on big construction projects, alongside engineers, surveyors and building contractors.