1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Water network operative

Water network operative

Alternative titles for this job include Leakage operative, distribution technician, 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


£27,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Water Engineering with a choice of 4 pathways

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You could train on the job through a:

  • Water Network Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Water Industry Network Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

These take between 18 and 30 months to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

There are no set entry requirements to get into this job.

Employers may prefer you to have GCSEs in English and maths.

It might be an advantage if you have experience in construction groundworks, plumbing, building services engineering or roadworks.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in the water industry from Energy and Utilities Jobs.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

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

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a water network operative, you could:

  • set up site safety measures like traffic lights and barriers
  • dig trenches by hand or with mechanical digging equipment
  • follow plans to trace where to dig safely
  • lay and repair water mains and pipes and install meters and hydrants
  • detect blockages in pipes and drains and clear them
  • maintain equipment and keep records of completed work

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work as a team supervisor.

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice (Leakage Technician)

  • Wage: £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Samlesbury, Preston

Water Network Operative Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,520.00 Annually
  • Location: Bristol

Courses In England

Water Regulations

  • Start date: 18 June 2024
  • Location: Crawley

BPEC Water Regulations

  • Start date: 26 April 2024
  • Location: Shrewsbury

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.