General plumbing information

Who to call if you need repairs

If you're confident about doing minor plumbing work yourself, like changing a tap washer to stop a drip, that's perfectly okay. But for bigger problems, renovations, or replacing toilets or hot water systems, you must call a plumber.

When to hire a plumber

You'll need a plumber to:

  • fix bigger problems
  • do renovation work
  • replace hot water systems, toilets and showers.

Don't forget to ask them to give you a Certificate of Compliance after they've finished the work. This certifies that the plumbing work meets the Plumbing Code of Australia.

Learn more about when you need a licensed plumber at NSW Fair Trading. You can also learn more about plumbing and drainage inspections/regulations, notices of work, certificates of compliance, sewerage service diagrams and audit inspection fees.

What you're responsible for

You're responsible for maintaining the pipes and fittings on your property up to where they connect to our water, wastewater and stormwater networks – your point of connection.

The pipes and fittings include all:

  • private water, wastewater and stormwater pipes and taps
  • pumps, tanks and other equipment used on your private pipes
  • pipes that you share with other properties
  • private pipes that service your property, even if they're not on your property – the private pipes that supply your property may be on a neighbour's property.

You're also responsible for protecting any of our pipes and fittings that are on your land, and you must let us enter your property if we need to maintain or repair any part of the water, wastewater or stormwater systems.

To find out more about what you need to maintain, read Your responsibilities when connected to our services.

What we're responsible for

We're responsible for our pipes (all the pipes, channels and structures that provide services to you) and the water meter on your property. We may have other assets on your property that we also have to maintain.

Keep in mind that we don't offer a free repair service for:

  • wastewater pipes
  • unauthorised connections
  • pipes we can't get to easily
  • pipes that have been damaged by others
  • water pipes that run along the footpath or cross other properties to connect to our water network.

If you see a leak in our pipes, please tell us and we'll repair it.

Call us if you see a leak in our pipes
If you see a leak in our pipes, call us on 13 20 90 24/7. We may repair the water pipe that connects your property to our water system if the problem is less than one metre inside your property.

When our pipes and fittings are on your property

If we have pipes and other assets (listed below) on or near your property, we need your help to protect them from damage. They may be shown in an easement on your Land Title Deeds. An easement is a right to use part of someone's property for a specific purpose. If we hold an easement on your land, you must let us in when needed, and you can't build over the easement without our permission.

We will maintain our assets, but you must keep them clear and let us onto your property if we need to maintain or repair them. You must not bury or build over them, as we may need access to maintain, repair or replace them.

If you damage any of our pipes or fittings, we may charge you to repair or replace them.

Please make sure the area around the meter is clear and accessible so we can read, repair or replace it. Learn more about your meter.

Sometimes our pipes run under private property. If you're doing any building, excavating or landscaping work on your property, make sure you know where our pipes and other services are. Find out before you dig with Before You Dig Australia (BYDA). BYDA can deliver free plans of our assets to your inbox.

If you're building over or next to our assets, we may need to approve your building plans. Learn more about building plan approvals.

Most people are connected to the normal wastewater system, but in some parts of Greater Sydney we have agreements with customers for pressure or vacuum systems. In these cases, we may need to maintain or repair pumps and associated equipment on your property. Find out more about different types of wastewater systems.

Hydrants enable us to access the water mains. They are usually covered by a metal or concrete plate and are on the footpath or roadway. Please don't build your driveway over them or bury the hydrants on the nature strip.

Don't remove or obscure the small signs with 'HP' or 'HR' in red. These show the Fire & Rescue and Rural Fire Services where the hydrants are in case of fire. Being able to find the hydrant quickly can be critical during an emergency.

Maintenance holes may be on or near your property, usually near the boundary. These holes enable us to access our wastewater and stormwater systems to clear blockages.

If we can't access these holes to clear blockages, wastewater or stormwater can back up in the pipe and flow out of pipe grates or openings into the street, your yard or possibly inside your home. Find out more about blockages below.

Ventilation shafts allow air to enter and exit the wastewater system. This helps prevent the pipes from corroding.

How to report faults
Please call us on 13 20 90 24/7 to report faults with any of our pipes or fittings, whether they're on your property, the footpath or the road.

When we need to enter your property

Under the Sydney Water Act 1994, you must allow us to enter your property to maintain or repair our water, wastewater or stormwater system when we need to. We'll usually write to you to arrange an appointment. We don't usually need you to be home as long as you provide clear access and secure your pets.

We'll need to access our equipment for repairs and maintenance either on the street or on your property.

How to find and prevent leaks

Leaks occur when a pipe has been damaged in some way. This causes water or wastewater to leak out of the pipe. You might have a leak in your water pipe if you have:

  • wet patches on your lawn during dry weather
  • patches of lawn or garden that are growing better than the area around it
  • a hissing sound coming from your water pipe
  • a water bill with much higher water use than usual, although you haven't changed the way you use water on your property.

Read about leak detection to learn how to find and prevent leaks.

If your bill is higher than expected, you may have a hidden leak. If a licensed plumber finds and repairs a hidden leak, you can apply for a hidden leak allowance on your bill.

Who to call to report a leak
Call a licensed plumber if you find a leak in your private water pipes. If you think the leak is in one of our pipes, call us on 13 20 90.

How to prevent wastewater blockages

Blockages occur when there's something inside your pipe that stops it working properly. Most blockages (also known as sewer chokes) occur in wastewater pipes. They're usually caused by tree roots that have found a way into the pipes, or when someone has put something down the toilet that's not designed for it. For example, a soft toy.

You can help stop blockages by choosing the right trees for your garden and making sure you don't plant trees near any pipes. Your local nursery can give you advice on trees and their root systems.

If you'd like to know where your pipes are, apply for a sewerage service diagram through Sydney Water Tap in.

Call a licensed plumber if you have a blockage in your private wastewater (sewer) pipes. If you think the blockage is in our pipes, call us on 13 20 90. If you're out of pocket because of a blockage in our wastewater pipes, you may be able to make a wastewater blockage claim.

Signs of a blockage in your pipes

  • Your sinks, bath or toilet empty slowly.
  • Your toilet is not flushing properly or has overflowed.
  • Your toilet or floor drain is making gurgling noises.
  • Wastewater has overflowed from the drain (or gully) near your outside tap.

What to do if your pipes are frozen

If pipes have frozen, let them thaw. It's best to be patient – your meter and pipes will thaw naturally as the day warms up. Never try to speed up the process with boiling water. There's a big risk your pipes will crack.

How to prevent pipes from freezing

When you know a cold snap's on the way, insulate your above-ground pipes and meter with a bucket, plastic tub or cardboard box, or wrap them in foam, rubber, crumpled newspaper or a towel. Better yet, sleep easy over a long cold winter with half a tyre over your meter.

Ice covering frozen pipes.

Always let frozen pipes thaw naturally.

How to tell if you have recycled water

Recycled water is available to use on your property if you have a second water meter that's purple. 

Our pipes

These are all the pipes, channels and structures that provide services to you.


We have diagrams showing the water mains we own, but not the private pipes owned by customers.