What are Private supplies?


A private water supply is any supply not provided by a water company where the water is consumed for domestic purposes or as part of a public or commercial activity. The Regulations apply to private water supplies where the water is intended for human consumption. So water either in its original state or after treatment, intended for drinking, cooking, food preparation or other domestic purposes, regardless of its origin and whether it is supplied from a distribution network, from a tanker, or in bottles or containers, or, all water used in any food-production undertaking for the manufacture, processing, preservation or marketing of products or substances intended for human consumption.

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About 1% of the population of England and 3% of the population in Wales use a private water supply. Most of these supplies are situated in remote, rural parts of the country and can originate from a range of sources including boreholes, natural springs and watercourses.

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Local authorities act as the regulators for private water supplies. The Inspectorate is not the regulator for private water supplies. However, we act as technical advisors to local authorities in relation to the implementation of the Private Water Supply Regulations on behalf of the Secretary of State. We provide technical and scientific advice on all aspects of drinking water quality, including on private water supplies, to local authorities. We do not work directly with consumers or owners of private water supplies, but do respond to any enquiries made to us about private water supplies.

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