TYPES OF PRIVATE WATER SUPPLIES AND THE IMPLICATIONS TO YOU

For a printable copy of this page see: TypesPWS.pdf (dwi.gov.uk)

The implication as a consumer or other stakeholder of a private water supply will depend on what the water supply is used for and the volume of water being used. The volume of water is that used for human consumption, as defined in regulation 3 of The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2018 (as amended) and regulation 3 of The Private Water supplies (Wales) Regulations 2017. “Human consumption” includes domestic purposes as defined in the Water Industry Act 1991, and including toilet flushing.

Types of private water supplies

Volume of water used 

Implications 

Regulation applicable

A supply that serves only a single owner occupied dwelling

Where less than 10m3 per day is consumed

It is not mandatory for these types of supplies to be monitored or risk assessed, but  you can request a risk assessment and/or monitoring (sampling and analysis) from your local authority. Please note that the Regulations allow for local authorities to recover their costs for these activities. If information indicates the supply is unwholesome or may be a risk to health, the local authority will require appropriate measures to be undertaken to ensure that the supply meets the regulatory  standards.

Regulation 10(3) (England)

Regulation 10 (Wales)

A supply that serves a single dwelling which is being rented or let

Where less than 10m3 is used per day

These supplies include those to properties being rented out, for example, either as long term dwellings or short term holiday lets. These supplies require a risk assessment at a minimum frequency of every 5 years, as well as annual  monitoring (sampling and analysis) in England, and a monitoring frequency of every 5 years in Wales. You, as the owner of the supply, are required to carry out  any required improvements to the supply to ensure it is safe. These activities are  chargeable, which in Wales are up to a maximum specified in the Regulations.

In England the requirements of Regulation 9 only applies at rented single  dwellings where certain criteria are met. See reg 9 guidance

Regulation 9 (England)

Regulation 11 (Wales)

A small supply that serves more than one dwelling

Where less than 10m3 per day is used

This is where all the properties on the supply use the water solely for domestic  purposes, and the total volume used is less than 10m3 per day. The local authority  will need to undertake a risk assessment and analysis a minimum of every 5 years,  for which there will be a charge. You may be required to complete any  improvements to the supply to ensure it is safe.

Regulation 10(1) and 10(2) (England)

Regulation 11 (Wales)

A large supply that serves more than 1 property (including or excluding dwellings)

Where 10m3 or more is used per day

These supplies require a risk assessment at a minimum frequency of every 5 years,  as well as a being monitored at a minimum annual frequency dependant on the  volume consumed. The Regulations allow for local authorities to cover their costs  for these activities. In Wales fees can be charged only up to a maximum specified in the Regulations.

Regulation 9 (England and Wales)

A supply where the water is used as part of an ingredient of a product that is being consumed.

AND/OR

Where the water being used will affect a product to be consumed.

Any amount 

These supplies require a risk assessment at a minimum frequency of every 5  years, as well as minimum annual monitoring (sampling and analysis). The  Regulations allow for local authorities to recover their costs for these activities. In  Wales fees can be charged only up to a maximum specified in the Regulations.

Owners of a supply or other relevant person(s) will be required to carry out any  required improvements to the supply to ensure it is safe.

These are supplies that commonly serve cafes and restaurants, or beverage or  some food factories.

Regulation 9 (England and Wales)

A supply where the water is being consumed by the public

Any amount

These supplies include those that serve hotels, libraries, heritage springs etc. A risk  assessment is required a minimum frequency of every 5 years, as well as annual  monitoring (sampling and analysis. These activities are chargeable, which in Wales  are up to a maximum specified in the Regulations. As a relevant person you may be  required to complete any required improvements to the supply to ensure it is safe to  use.

Regulation 9 (England and Wales)

A supply of water that originates from a public supply, the consumption of which is not being billed by a water company.

These types of private water supplies occur when a water company customer further distributes water from a public supply onto another parcel of land in different ownership. The monitoring arrangements will be based on the outcome of a risk assessment. The regulations allow for local authorities to recover their costs for these activities. In Wales fees can be charged only up to a maximum specified in the Regulations.

Regulation 8 (England and Wales)

A supply of water used for domestic purposes, other than drinking and/or cooking

Any amount

“Human consumption” comprises other domestic purposes, which includes toilet flushing, the washing of clothes, bathing and hand washing. The regulations require that these supplies are monitored and risk assessed in accordance with their supply type even if the water is not used for drinking and/or cooking purposes. If a supply is never used for any domestic purposes (as defined in The Water Industry Act 1991) the Regulations are not applicable. See note below.

Regulations 8, 9, 10 (England and Wales), or 11 applicable

Private water supplies not within scope of the Regulations include (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • Supplies used exclusively for the irrigation of crops or other plants (e.g. at some farms and garden centres.
  • Supplies where the water is used exclusively for the washing of crops after they have been harvested, such that it does not affect the fitness for human consumption of the crop or of any food or drink derived from that crop.
  • Supplies used exclusively for vehicle washing.
  • Supplies used exclusively for the washing down of industrial plant.
  • Supplies used exclusively for the manufacturing of a product that is not a food or drink/beverage or intended to be used in a food or drink/beverage final product.
  • Supplies used exclusively for the watering and/or washing of livestock, pets or other animals.
  • Supplies used exclusively to wash down or sluice out dairy sheds, animal enclosures or compounds.
  • Supplies used exclusively to wash any food or food ingredients where the water will not affect the final product to be consumed.
  • Supplies used exclusively to wash down a surface, where the water will not affect any final product intended to be consumed.
  • Supplies where the water is controlled by the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2017, and the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (Wales) Regulations 2015.
  • Supplies using water that is a medicinal product within the meaning of the medicines Act 1968 or a product in which any provision of that Act has effect as it were such a medicinal product.
  • Supplies used for any combination of the above.

Version 4, October 2018

Back to top