How is the quality and sufficiency of my drinking water protected?
Private water supplies in England and Wales must comply with the requirements of The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 and The Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 for England and The Private Water Supplies (Wales) Regulations 2017 for Wales.
The Regulations require that all private water supplies 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.
In order to check that a supply is wholesome and safe to consume the local authority will carry out monitoring (sampling and analysis) in accordance with the supply type (PDF 90KB). The local authority must also carry out a risk assessment every five years, unless the supply is to a single dwelling only. Local authorities in both England and Wales must monitor and/or carry out a risk assessment if requested to do so by the property owner or occupier. In Wales only, the Local Authority may monitor a supply to a single dwelling in accordance with regulation 10(2)(a) of the Regulations in Wales if it chooses to do so. Consumers should note that the Regulations make provision for the recovery of local authority costs for these activities, although liability for these costs will be supply specific, and largely dependent on who the local authority considers to be the appropriate relevant person(s).
The risk assessment 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. The local authority will require the appropriate relevant person(s) to undertake any improvement works, which it will subsequently check to ensure that suitable measures to protect health have been put in place. Local authorities have powers of enforcement, which they are obliged to use in accordance with the regulatory requirements, where necessary
Further guidance on supply types and their potential implications (PDF 90KB) is available.
The quality of your supply will vary depending on where the water originates, the efficiency, or absence of treatment, and how well the supply infrastructure (such as the source, tanks or pipework) is being managed and maintained. The management of a supply should ensure that the quality of the water is compliant with the Regulatory standards and is safe to consume at all times. However any person exercising control over the supply should inform you if the quality of the water deteriorates, and/or is likely to become insufficient, and provide suitable advice and/or provide you with an alternative wholesome source of water in a suitably timely manner..
What should you do if the supply becomes insufficient?
The supply should provide a sufficient amount of water for domestic purposes at all times, including running a bath or having a shower. However if your water supply is, or becomes insufficient for domestic purposes, the appropriate relevant person(s) needs to be informed. This is usually the person(s) who exercise management and control over the supply. Insufficiency can be caused by weather conditions, burst pipes, during maintenance work, or as a result of a lack of general management of the supply infrastructure (tanks and pipes, etc). It can also become insufficient when it is inadvertently or intentionally cut off. If you are concerned about the quality or sufficiency of your drinking water you should contact the appropriate relevant person(s) and/or the local authority. Further information on insufficiency (PDF 107KB) is available.
Regulation 8 Supplies
If your water supply originates from a water company’s main, but you do not have an account with the water company to pay for this supply, it may be a type of private water supply called a Regulation 8 supply (sometimes referred to an onward distribution system) This is where a public water supply to an owner/occupier of a primary premises (a water company customer) is further distributed to other persons for domestic use on other private premises (secondary premises), the owners/occupiers of which are not customers of the water company. If you suspect that your supply may fall under this Regulation then you should contact your local authority to find out more information. Further information is available on Regulation 8 supplies for England (PDF 199KB)and Wales (PDF 205KB).
Page reviewed: 10 June 2019
Page modified: 10 June 2019