Water network operative

Alternative titles for this job include Distribution technician, leakage operative, network service technician

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

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a Water network operative

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could start by taking a college course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information


You may get into this career by doing an intermediate apprenticeship in the water industry.

This will usually take 16 months to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

There are no set entry requirements for this job though employers may prefer you to have a good general standard of education like GCSEs in English and maths.

Experience in construction, plumbing, building services engineering or plant maintenance could be useful.

More information

Further information

You'll find more details about working and training in the water industry from Talent Source Network.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a driving licence for some jobs

You may need to be registered in one of the water industry safety passport schemes, supported by the Energy & Utilities Skills Register (EUSR). The safety passport proves that you are competent to carry out work on the water network.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • digging holes by hand or with mechanical digging equipment
  • using maps and plans to trace where to dig
  • laying and repairing water mains and pipes
  • using closed circuit TV to check for blockages in pipes and drains
  • clearing blockages
  • installing water meters and hydrants
  • maintaining vehicles and equipment
  • recording details of completed work and materials used

Working environment

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a team leader. 

With further training, you could become an engineering technician or water engineer.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Water Process Technician Advanced Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £9,600.00 Annually
  • Location: Bath BA2 7WW

Apprentice Network Construction Operatives (Water Network)

  • Wage : £313.97 Weekly
  • Location: London E15 4BQ

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a Water network operative?

Search for training courses near you.

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