How do the Regulations protect my drinking water?

As a consumer of a private water supply your supply is covered by the Private Water Supplies Regulations. The Regulations require all private water supplies to meet regulatory standards to ensure the water is safe and sufficient at all times.

Local Authorities in England and Wales are responsible for regulating the quality of private water supplies where the water is consumed for domestic purposes, or as part of a commercial or public activity. Local Authorities have duties and powers to ensure that these supplies remain wholesome and sufficient for these purposes.  Further details about private water supplies regulations in England and Wales, and what they could mean to you can be found on these pages. Your local authority may also have information on their website, including the charging arrangements they have in place for recovering the costs of the activities they are required to undertake as part of their regulatory duties.

The first step in achieving this requirement is to risk assess the supply. The risk assessment is completed by the local authority and examines all aspects of the supply including the surrounding area to identify any possible contamination risks. This process will also identify and document any improvement works or ongoing maintenance which is required to ensure the supply is safe and the risks are controlled. Any improvement work is then conducted by the appropriate relevant person(s) and communicated back to the local authority

Under the Regulations the supply is also required to be sampled, by the local authority or a competent person, on an annual frequency determined by the risk assessment.

Water Quality

The quality of your supply will vary depending on where the water originates, any existing treatment, and how well this or the supply infrastructure (such as the source, tanks or pipework) is being maintained.

Good management of a supply should ensure the water is compliant with the Regulations and safe to drink at all times. However the relevant person(s) of the supply should inform you if the quality of the water deteriorates and provide suitable advice and/or provide you with an alternative wholesome source of water.

If you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water contact the appropriate relevant person(s) of your supply or the local authority

What should you do if the supply runs out?

The supply should provide a sufficient amount of water for domestic purposes such as running a bath or having a shower. However if your water supply is or becomes insufficient for domestic purposes, thes appropriate relevant person(s) needs to be informed. Insufficiency can be caused by drought, cold weather, damage to pipework/bursts, during maintenance work or due to lack of general maintenance on the supply infrastructure (tanks and pipes, etc.).

In the event of a period of insufficiency the appropriate relevant person(s) of the supply will have a plan that will identify and supply an alternative source of water, this could include bottled water, bowsers or tankers (suitable for drinking water). If work is required on the supply then the appropriate relevant person(s) should notify you in advance of the work starting to ensure you have time to make alternative arrangements.

If it is an ongoing situation of insufficiency and the situation has not been resolved satisfactorily then you should keep records of the occasions where the supply was insufficient and the activity you were unable to complete and contact the local authority with this information.

Regulation 8 Supplies

Your water supply may originate from a water company’s main however you may not have an account with the water company to pay for this supply and instead pay your water bill to a land owner or property owner. This type of supply is classified under Regulation 8 of the Regulations and is where a public water supply is supplied to a primary premises (a water company customer) and then water from this main is further distributed to other persons for use on other private premises (secondary premises who are not customers of the water company).

If you feel that your supply could be classified under this Regulation then you should either contact the person who supplies water to you or your local authority to find out more information.




Page reviewed: 9 August 2018
Page modified: 10 July 2018

Drinking Water Inspectorate