Private water supplies
In general terms a private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company. It is not a "mains" supply. About 1% of the population of England and Wales have private water supplies to their homes. Most private supplies are situated in the more remote, rural parts of the country. The source of the supply may be a well, borehole, spring, stream, river, lake or pond. The supply may serve just one property or several properties through a network of pipes.
As well as being the independent regulator of public drinking water supplies, DWI also have an advisory role in relation to Private Water Supplies (i.e. those not supplied by a water utility). DWI Inspectors are appointed Technical Advisors to both the Secretary of State (Defra) and Welsh Ministers on drinking water quality. This includes the provision of technical advice on Private Water Supplies and related issues. As part of that activity, DWI provides support and advice to Local Authorities, on all aspects of drinking water quality, including on Private Water Supplies.
The Private Water Regulations 2009 came in to force on 1 January 2010 and a summary note (PDF 42KB) is available for download. The Welsh PWS Regulations 2010 and the Amended Welsh PWS Regulations are available for download.
The Chief Inspector's Report for Private Water Supply in England and Wales
Guidance, technical notes and a Notice template specific to private water supplies can be found on a separate page on this website.
As part of Drinking water 2011, local authorities provide examples of situations with private water supplies that may be of benefit to other authorities, owners and users. These are collated and can be found here.
To comply with the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations and the Private Water Supplies Regulations samples collected in England and Wales must be tested in a laboratory that has the appropriate systems in place. Further details about these requirements can be found in information letter 05/2013 which, amongst other things, state that the minimum regulatory requirement is for all sampling, transport and analysis of drinking water, supplied under these regulations, to be UKAS accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 to the Drinking Water Testing specification (DWTS).
A list of laboratories that are UKAS accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 to the Drinking Water Testing specification (DWTS) and therefore approved to carry out drinking water analysis on behalf of water companies, local authorities and drinking water suppliers under these regulations can be found below. The laboratories and companies listed here may be accredited for some but not all drinking water tests and services. All drinking water test results and other services, such as sampling and transportation, should be accredited including those subcontracted to other laboratories / companies.
The revision to the agreement between DWI and UKAS forms the basis of the UKAS Drinking Water Testing Specification (Lab 37) which is available on the UKAS website.
Your nearest DWTS accredited laboratory can be found by following this link to the UKAS website and entering your postcode.
If you are a local authority requiring technical support in resolving a water quality issue with a private water supply then please contact the DWI enquiry line on 030 0068 6400 or email: email@example.com who can put you in touch with the appropriate Inspector.
If you are a consumer with a water quality issue with a private water supply then further information on how to keep your private supply safe can be found in the downloadable advice leaflet (PDF 99KB) or, alternatively, contact the Environmental Health section at your local authority.
Please email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page reviewed: 11 November 2013
Page modified: 11 November 2013