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Resolving disputes

Water customers in England and Wales can go to an independent adjudicator if their complaint has not been resolved by their water company and after intervention from the Consumer Council for Water.

The Water Redress Scheme – WATRS adjudicates on disputes relating to:

  • bills and payments
  • metering
  • water supply, and
  • wastewater sewerage services.

The service is free to use for customers. However, customers can only take their complaint to the adjudicator after they have been through their water company’s complaints process and been to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to take up the matter on their behalf.

WATRS aims to make its decision within 20 working days of receiving an application. If WATRS supports a customer complaint, it will decide what action the company must take, including carrying out work or paying compensation for loss or damage. The decision by WATRS will be binding on the water company if accepted by the customer.

The WATRS scheme is funded by the water companies but run independently by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and overseen by an independent panel. The development of the scheme has been carried out by water companies working with Ofwat and CCWater.

The water companies set 6 commitments for the scheme

  1. To provide WATRS free of charge to customers
  2. To support the principles set out in the ADR specification
  3. To respect the independence of WATRS
  4. To be bound by the decision of the WATRS adjudicator if accepted by the customer
  5. To co-operate with and have due regard to the recommendations of the ADR Panel
  6. To provide accurate and reliable information to and co-operate with the WATRS adjudicators

Visit the Water Redress Scheme website.