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Water Act 1981

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6Civil liability of statutory water undertakers for escapes of water.

(1)Where an escape of water, however caused, from a communication pipe or main of statutory water undertakers causes loss or damage, the undertakers shall be liable, except as otherwise provided in this section, for the loss or damage.

(2)Statutory water undertakers shall not incur any liability under subsection (1) above if the escape was due wholly to the fault of the person who suffered the loss or damage or of any servant, agent or contractor of his.

(3)Statutory water undertakers shall not incur any liability under subsection (1) above in respect of any loss or damage suffered by any excepted undertakers for which they would not be liable apart from that subsection.

(4)The Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Limitation Act 1980 shall apply in relation to any loss or damage for which statutory water undertakers are liable under this section, but which is not due to their fault, as if it were due to their fault.

(5)Nothing in subsection (1) above affects any entitlement which statutory water undertakers may have to recover contribution under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978; and for the purposes of that Act, any loss for which statutory water undertakers are liable under that subsection shall be treated as if it were damage.

(6)Where statutory water undertakers are liable, under any enactment or agreement passed or made before the coming into force of this section, to make a payment in respect of any loss or damage, they shall not incur liability under subsection (1) above in respect of the same loss or damage.

(7)In this section—

(a)" communication pipe " and " main " have the meanings assigned to them by section 1(1) of Schedule 3 to the Water Act 1945;

(b)" damage" includes the death of, or injury to, any person (including any disease and any impairment of physical or mental condition);

(c)" excepted undertakers " means—

(i)statutory undertakers within the meaning of section 290(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971;

(ii)any highway authority within the meaning of the Highways Act 1980;

(iii)any bridge authority, bridge managers, street authority or street managers within the meaning of section 39(1) of the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950; and

(iv)any person on whom a right to compensation under section 26 of the said Act of 1950 is conferred;

(d)" fault" has the same meaning as in the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945; and

(e)" statutory water undertakers " has the meaning assigned to it by section 11(6) of the Water Act 1973.

(8)This section shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.

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