Job type

Water network operative

£15k - £27k

Typical salary

38 – 44

Hours per week

Water network operatives look after the pipes, mains, and pumping stations that supply homes and businesses with water.

More info

  • Work for a water company, maintaining the water supply network, including pipes and pumping stations
  • Work is physical and often outdoors in all weathers
  • Progress to lead a team or move into engineering roles with further study and training

In this role you'll work outdoors carrying out planned installation or maintenance work, and responding to emergencies like burst pipes and major leaks.


  • Dig holes by hand or with mechanical digging equipment
  • Use maps and plans to trace where to dig
  • Lay and repair water mains and pipes
  • Use closed circuit TV to check for blockages in pipes and drains
  • Clear blockages
  • Install water meters and hydrants
  • Maintain vehicles and equipment
  • Record details of completed work and materials used


You'll usually work a rota with a mixture of day shifts and some unsocial hours, as work is often carried out at night or the weekend to minimise disruption to traffic. 

The work can be physically demanding and you'll mainly work outdoors, in all weathers. You'll be provided with protective clothing and equipment.

You'll need

There are no set entry requirements, but some employers may ask for GCSEs, including maths and English, or equivalent. You'll also need good practical skills, the ability to follow detailed instructions, and a polite and professional manner when dealing with the public.

You could get started by taking a college course like a Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills or Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations, or doing an intermediate apprenticeship in the water industry.

Experience of road working, construction or operating plant machinery could be helpful.

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.


With experience, you could progress to team leader, or with further training, you could become an engineering technician or water engineer.