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I am not on a mains water supply, where can I go for advice?

Private water supplies in England

In general terms, a private water supply is one that is not provided by a water company. Most of these supplies are situated in remote, rural parts of the country and can originate from a range of sources including boreholes, wells, natural springs, and watercourses.

Regulations governing private water supplies

The regulations in respect of private water supplies in England are the Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016 that came into effect on 27 June 2016. These regulations were amended by The Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 that came into force on 11 July 2018.

The Water Industry Act 1991 is the primary national legislation and defines the powers and responsibilities of local authorities in relation to private water supplies and the definition of a relevant person(s).

Categories of private water supplies against current regulations
Regulation 9 suppliesLarge supplies and those used as part of a commercial or public activity (including some supplies to tenanted single dwellings)
Regulation 10 suppliesSmall supplies, including small shared supplies
Regulation 8 suppliesWhere a public supply is onwardly distributed to non-water company consumers on a secondary premises

Role of local authorities in regulating private water supplies

Local authorities act as the regulators for private water supplies and have a number of statutory duties under the Private Water Supplies Regulations. These regulations place a duty on local authorities to conduct a risk assessment of each private water supply within their area and to undertake monitoring in order to determine compliance with drinking water standards.

Under the regulations, the Council is allowed to charge for a risk assessment, monitoring of the supply, sample analysis costs and any investigations it has to take in relation to a supply.

Private water sampling fees
Risk assessment (large/commercial supply)£261.00
Risk Assessment (small supply)£134.00
Risk Assessment (single domestic dwelling)£67.00
Sampling (plus analysis costs)


Investigation (plus analysis costs)£67.00

The local authority has powers under the regulations to require that a supply is improved by the relevant person(s).

Supplies to single (domestic) dwellings

The majority of private water supplies in England supply only a single dwelling, where the water is used exclusively for domestic purposes (e.g. where the water is used for cooking, drinking, food preparation, bathing, showering and laundry) and where the water is not used for any commercial activity (such as bed and breakfast or tea shop/cafe).

The regulations in England do not require monitoring to be undertaken for these supplies unless the local authority is requested to do so by the owner or occupier of the dwelling.

If you need advice on the quality and treatment of your private water supply, please contact us.

Further information and advice can also be found on the website of the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) (opens new window).

Last modified on 01 April 2024

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