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.
In order to comply with Schedule 3 of the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009, the testing of drinking water from private water supplies should be carried out by an accredited laboratory. The list of those laboraties currently accredited can be found here.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
Page reviewed: 5 December 2012
Page modified: 21 February 2013