Guide Private Water Supplies

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3. Private Water Supply Legislation

The standards and requirements for drinking water are enacted in National Regulations. They are enforced in respect of private water supplies in England through the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016, which came into effect on 27 June 2016. The Private Water Supplies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 came into force on 11 July 2018. 

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

Regulations governing the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances is defined in The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999

The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016 (as amended) protects public health by ensuring that water supplies are safe to drink. The law includes:

  1. The requirement for the Local Authority to sample and risk assess private water supplies in their area and charge the responsible person/ supply owner a fee.
  2. Local Authorities must now assess the risk from radioactive substances, such as radon, to private water supplies under European requirements Directive 96/29/Euratom.
  3. Local Authorities are required to serve notice on single domestic dwellings if there is a risk to health from their private supply.
  4. Ensure remedial action is taken if the water is unwholesome, even if it is not necessarily a risk to health.
  5. Requirements for installing a new private water supply.
  6. Sharing information on the private water supplies; risk assessment actions and statutory Notices with the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

The law governing private water supplies can be seen in full at the Drinking Water Inspectorate website Private Supply Legislation - Drinking Water Inspectorate (

Use of your personal information

 We are using your personal information for the purpose of investigating private water supplies and on the basis of a public task and our legal obligations under the Housing Act 2004, Environmental Protection Act 1990, Water Industry Act 1991; The Private Water Supply (England) Regulations 2016 (as amended) and associated legislation. More information can be found at Privacy notices - East Devon.