Old house wiring earth


In a couple of days time the street my mother lives in is having its water supply replaced. I'm thinking she is going to lose the earth connection completely .
At present the meter tails go to an ancient tin box with a circuit breaker and four ceramic fuse holders. The case of this box is connected to the metal conduit that the house wiring is run in and then on to the water pipe from the street.
I'm curious about how an electrician would go about restoring the earth connection. I've heard about taking it from the sheath of the main supply into the house. Earth rods puzzle me as I would have thought the restistance of a bit of soil would be too high/variable for something as important as a house earth.
Any info would be appreciated.
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Without seeing a photo I would guess that the metal sheath you speak of is the suppliers earth to your Mothers house.
<http://www.diyfaq.org.uk/electrical/electrical.html#earthing
It is probably a TN-S supply. The connection to the water pipe was probably main equipotential bonding.
Adam
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