The basic principles of a Regulation 8 supply are set out below:
- The origin of the water supply to the primary premises is a public water supply main and a person or organisation associated with the primary premises is confirmed by the water company as a water company customer.
- The water company customer then further distributes water to other persons for use on other premises (secondary premises).
- The owners (or occupiers if subsequently rented out) of the secondary premises are not customers of the water company.
The diagram below sets out these principles:
A = boundary of the primary premises (water company customer)
B = boundary of the secondary premises
A Regulation 8 supply tends to arise when a parcel of land on an estate is sold and the water supply continues to be provided by the estate because the new owner has not arranged for a separate public mains water supply connection. Regulation 8 also makes it clear that this type of private supply, once identified, must be included in the risk assessment and monitoring programme of the local authority, not the water company.
Identification of a Regulation 8 private supply situation
It will always require dialogue between the local authority and the appropriate water company. As a general principle, whenever the supply to a premise originates from the public supply main, there should be a presumption by the local authority that the supply is a public water supply until proven otherwise. For this reason, the only action required initially by the local authority is to record the address of any situation where on the basis of local knowledge they consider there could be a potential Regulation 8 situation and to then forward this information to the local water company for checking against its customer billing records.
A situation which is not a Regulation 8 supply is one where several premises are supplied with mains water by means of a single supply pipe that is jointly the responsibility of the owners of all the premises. This is a public water supply situation known as a common supply pipe.
Another situation which is not a Regulation 8 supply is where someone rents a property, mobile home or caravan from a premises owner and the premises owner is a water company customer. A single large premises (such as a business park, shopping centre, university, office block, or block of flats) comprised of either several buildings or several units all located inside one building, can appear on the water company billing database as either a single customer (premises owner or managing agent of the whole site) or as a series of individual customers (occupiers of different buildings/units). These premises are unlikely to constitute a Regulation 8 supply.
The following examples are also unlikely to be a Regulation 8 supply situation:
- caravan sites where there is a single owner of the overall site
- small industrial parks where there are several different businesses occupying individual units on one premises
- A hotel premises with outbuildings and/or a marquee used for temporary events, such as weddings, conferences or meetings
- Airports and ports where there is a single owner of the whole site
- University, college or school where there is a single owner of the whole site
- Rural estate where all the buildings and homes are in the ownership or management of the estate
However, it should be noted that in relation to any of the above examples, a Regulation 8 situation might exist or could arise as a consequence of the sale of a parcel of land or building (but not the whole premises). The exact situation can only be determined case by case. In all of these situations, the water company will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Water Fittings Regulations 1999.
The short term provision of water for a temporary event using tankers, bowsers, mobile or static tanks should not be regarded automatically as a Regulation 8 situation. However, local authorities should take steps to ensure the supply arrangements comply with the Code of Practice BS 8551:2011 – Provision and Management of Temporary Water Supplies and Distribution Networks (not including provisions for statutory emergencies).
Summary of powers available for improving Regulation 8 supplies
- Local authority Notice under Regulation 18 of the Private Water Supplies Regulations or a Notice under Section 80 of the Water Industry Act 1991 based on a Regulation 6 risk assessment
- Water company Notice for contraventions of the Water Fittings Regulations 1999
- The type of Notice will depend on the exact circumstances which in turn will inform on whom the Notice is served and the nature of the required remedial work to be specified. Sometimes more than one type of Notice may be required. Likewise there may be more than one relevant person. The advice of the Inspectorate should be sought prior to serving notices in situations that are not straightforward.