Appearance

Your water should be clear

Very occasionally for a brief period it may appear discoloured or contain particles.

12.2 Contacts per 10,000 people

Number of times water companies were contacted by their customers because their water wasn't clear

Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate; England and Wales, Jan 2016 - Dec 2016

Click for company comparison Close Panel

Why might performance vary?

In the vast majority of cases, the water that comes out of taps is clear.

There are various reasons why water can be unclear. Plumbing issues in homes such as corrosion of pipes can cause problems.

Planned or unplanned work on water pipes (for example to fix a burst water pipe in the street) can disturb sediment in the pipes, which usually only for  a short time can make the water brown, or create harmless air bubbles, which makes the water look milky.

Your local landscape causes your water to be soft or hard. Water is generally harder in the south and becomes softer moving north. Most companies do not soften water because it is very expensive but customers may choose to fit their own water softeners.

Number of times companies were contacted by customers about the appearance of their tap water (per 10,000 people supplied)

The graph shows how many times customers contacted their water companies about the appearance of their tap water in the latest year. So that companies with different numbers of customers can be compared, the graphs show the number of contacts per 10,000 people supplied. 

      Number of times companies were contacted by customers about the appearance of their tap water (per 10,000 people supplied)

      Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate

      Number of times companies were contacted by customers about the appearance of their tap water (per 10,000 people supplied)

      The graph shows how many times customers contacted their water companies about the appearance of their tap water in the last three years. So that companies with different numbers of customers can be compared, the graphs show the number of contacts per 10,000 people supplied.

          Number of times companies were contacted by customers about the appearance of their tap water (per 10,000 people supplied)

          Source: Drinking Water Inspectorate

          Want to know more about how your company is doing?
          Click here to find out

          Has this information helped you understand how companies compare on the appearance of drinking water?

          Tell us more
          • The two main causes are:

            • disturbance of harmless deposits making the water brown, black or orange. This may occur if there is a disturbance of the mains system, like a burst main or a leak.
            • air or chalk making the water appear white.

            A consumer advice leaflet on www.DWI.gov.uk has more information about discoloured water.

          Is your water persistently discoloured?

          Please contact your local water company. Don’t know who your supplier is? Find out here

          Your browser is out of date!

          Please update your browser to view this website correctly.