New Private Water Supply Regulations

What do they mean for owners and consumers?

What is a private water supply and do these Regulations apply to me?

A private water supply is a supply of water which does not come from a public water supply (from a water company unless it is subsequently supplied by someone else1). Private supplies may come from a variety of sources, including wells, springs, boreholes and streams.

Regulations on private water supplies in England and Wales were introduced in 1991 and were replaced by new Regulations introduced early in 2010. The new Regulations apply to all who own or use a private water supply. The new Regulations have been introduced to ensure that water from private supplies is wholesome, so that people who drink water or consume food or drinks made from private supplies may do so without risk to their health.
This factsheet aims to help those with a private water supply understand how the regulations affect them.

Local authorities are responsible for regulating private water supplies used for domestic purposes (such as drinking, cooking, and washing) in both domestic and commercial premises.

What does this mean for me?

Where a private water supply is used:

1.  for more than one house
2.  for commercial purposes in premises including, food businesses, Bed and Breakfast, dairy farms, holiday rentals, a workplace (where you employ other people)
3.  in a public building

A professional from your local authority will visit to inspect the supply and take water samples, generally from your kitchen tap. They can make a charge for this.
If the house you and your family live in is the only property supplied by a water source, and only your family drink the water, the local authority will only take a sample if you ask them to. They can charge for this service. If you are a tenant on a private water supply, you can also ask your local authority to investigate your supply if you think there could be a problem.

What sort of things can affect the water quality?

Even if water looks clear, untreated water can contain microorganisms (from animal droppings or human sewage) or chemical contamination which may not be detectable by taste or smell.

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