Private water supplies


A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water utility company such as Severn Trent Water. The private water supply may come from:

  • Wells
  • Boreholes
  • Springs
  • Rivers or streams
  • Lakes or ponds
  • A private distribution system (mains water privately distributed by a third party who is not a water company)

The private supply may serve one property or several properties through a piped network.

All private water supplies must be registered with the local council where a public register of supplies is maintained.

The legal requirements

The Private Water Regulations 2009 came into force in 2010 and seeks to safeguard public health by applying relevant standards to private water supplies to ensure they are wholesome and safe to drink. The act placed duty on local councils to ensure that the standards are achieved.

The council is required by the regulations to carry out a risk assessment of private water supplies every five years. The assessment covers all aspects of the water supply from its source through the distribution system to the final point of water use. It will identify potential areas of concern and relevant water sampling and analysis will be undertaken to assist the management of each individual supply to ensure its safety and wholesomeness.

Actions if the water supply is found to be 'unwholesome'

If a water supply is found to fail to meet the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009 quality standard, it will be investigated to determine the reason for its failure.

If a wholesome water supply cannot be achieved through physical changes to the supply or its supply network, the water will require the installation of treatment equipment before use.

In the event of water failing to achieve the correct standards and being 'unwholesome', a notice will be served restricting the supply. Failure to comply with such a notice may result in prosecution at the magistrates court.

Further information on the regulations and advice on keeping your water supply safe can be accessed at Drinking Water Inspectorate ( or if you have any other questions about private water supplies, contact Environmental Health

Last updated: ‎09‎/‎12‎/‎2019‎ ‎16‎:‎38‎