5 Stage process

Posted: Monday 22nd January 2024 



With the immediate impacts of Storm Isha easing, Scottish Water is seeking support from customers in Shetland with checking for leaks and bursts following the rapid thaw that the change in the weather has brought. 


Scottish Water’s team has been working hard across the isles to maintain normal service for customers over the weekend – and they are appealing for customers and property owners to help in locating leaks, whether on the public water network or in private plumbing.  


They are particularly asking customers to check any empty properties, business premises, holiday homes, basements, out houses, field troughs or garden taps to identify where there may be any burst pipes. 


A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “Our local team has been working hard to find and remedy any leaks and bursts in challenging conditions over the weekend. We expect to continue this focus over the week ahead. 


“The thaw and the recent rainfall mean that the ground is saturated with water in many areas. However, it’s important that we find and stop leaks from the public water network so that we can maintain supplies for everyone.  


“The support that property owners and members of the public can give us with locating issues is enormously appreciated. We would also ask customers to check around their own homes, and any other properties they look after, in order to isolate and repair any burst pipes. This will minimise the potential for property damage and assist us with maintaining supplies for customers across Shetland.” 


Where customers are aware of leaks or bursts on the public water network, they are asked to contact Scottish Water with as much detail of the location as possible. Issues can be reported via the online reporting portal on Scottish Water’s website at https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/Help-and-Resources/Contact-Us/Contacting-Us.  


Wider advice on saving water, saving money and protecting homes from the effects of winter weather is available at Be Winter Wise - Scottish Water (yourwateryourlife.co.uk).

If you require additional support, please use this link to sign up as a Priority Services Customer.

If you have experienced flooding due to this incident and need support, please call us on 0800 0778 778 or via one of the other methods on our contact us page.

Interruption to supply

When we are doing maintenance or repairs to the water network, you may experience cloudy or discoloured water. This video explains what to do if you are affected.

Burst Water Main FAQs

We are very sorry you have experienced an unplanned interruption to your water supply. In this event it is always our priority to restore the supply as soon as possible, regardless of the scale of the disruption. An unplanned interruption to your water supply is normally caused by a water mains pipe bursting on our network. We proactively manage our vast network of pipes, however unforeseen bursts do sometimes occur.
A water mains pipe burst can vary in size or complexity and other factors, such as traffic management or the location of the burst can affect the time to repair the pipe. The location and elevation of your property on our water network can also influence how soon the water will be restored to your property - for example the burst pipe may be repaired, but water has to recharge throughout the network. This means that properties at a higher elevation and/or further distance from the burst may take longer to receive full restoration of supply and pressure.
We update information on our website and social media channels on both Twitter and Facebook.
For households with combination boiler systems (normally operated without the need for a hot water storage unit) the central heating system should continue to operate as normal. However a hot water system, which is normally fed directly from the mains water supply, will not operate until the water supply is restored.
We usually restore water supplies within a reasonable time. However, if we are unable to do so, we will provide alternative water supplies. 
Scottish Water has a confidential service for Priority Services Customers that customers with additional needs can sign up to free of charge. Customers who require additional assistance may include the elderly, young children or those with a disability or medical condition that requires a constant supply of water. For more information about Priority Services Customers, please visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/support or call our Customer Helpline free on 0800 0778 778.

Discoloured Water FAQs

If you notice any unusual taste and odour, please contact us so we can carry out the necessary investigations to resolve this for you as soon as possible. For more information please see our factsheet: Colour, taste and odour explained.

If the water from your cold kitchen tap (or any other mains fed tap) suddenly becomes discoloured, this could be because some maintenance or repair work is being carried out on our network in your area. If we have not informed you of any work being carried out, please contact us for more details. If we are not working in your area, we will investigate the cause of discolouration for you and let you know. For more information please see our factsheet: Colour, taste and odour explained.

In most cases discoloured water is not harmful and can be cleared by running the first incoming cold water tap (usually in the kitchen) at a trickle until it clears. Very occasionally customers have noticed "tiny particles" or "bits" in their tap water. This can be caused by planned or unplanned work to the water supply network which causes natural sediment in the pipes to shift (quite often this is a dark red, brown colour).

Small dark grey or black particles can occasionally be caused if your pipework is made from lead. This is most likely if your house was built before 1970. For more information see our Lead and Your Water pages.

Useful Documents

Title Type Size Download
Unplanned Interruption to your Supply

This leaflet explains what to do if you have an unplanned interruption to your water supply

PDF 1 MB Download
Factsheet 4: Colour, Taste and Odour Explained

This leaflet describes where we sample, causes of discoloured water and why your water may sometimes taste or smell different.

PDF 971 KB Download