Huntingdonshire District Council


Private Water Supplies

Flowing Water 

A private water supply is any water supply that is not provided by a water company.  It is not a "mains" supply.  About 1% of the population of England have private water supplies to their homes.  Most private water supplies are situated in the more remote, rural parts.  The source of the supply may be a well, borehole, spring, stream, river, lake or pond.  The supply may serve just one property or several properties through a network of pipes.

Any private water supply can pose a threat to health unless the water is properly protected and treated.  The supply may become contaminated with harmful micro-organisms, chemicals, or other substances.  Many are harmless, but some may cause serious illness or even death in vulnerable people.  You may not be able to tell whether your water is safe as contamination may not show by smell, taste or colour of the water. 

Private Water Supply Regulations 2009

These regulations came into force in January 2010 and replaced the previous 1991 regulations.  The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) serve as the advisory body for the implementation of the regulations and produce guidance to help local authorities and private water supply operators comply with the law. 

The regulations classify private water supplies into three categories, excluding those to single domestic dwellings.  The classification of a supply is primarily dependent upon the number and type of premises served and the volume of water used.  The regulations have also introduced a new requirement for local authorities to monitor onward distribution systems.

  • Large Supply Supplies >10m3/day; or Supplies to a commercial activity or public premises
  • Other Supply In any other case other than for a single private dwelling
  • SPD Where a supply is for a single private dwelling

    An onward distribution system is found where water is supplied by a water undertaker or licensed supplier and is then further distributed by a third party.

    Whichever supply is applicable, the principles remain the same, Huntingdonshire District Council must (with the exception of SPDs) risk assess the supply and monitor it in accordance with the information obtained.

    When monitoring, Huntingdonshire District Council needs to be satisfied that the abstracted or distributed water meets the proscribed criteria for wholesomeness.

    Should a sample fail to be wholesome, Huntingdonshire District Council must carry out an investigation to determine the cause and has a range of options available to ensure a safe and wholesome supply.

    If the house you and your family live in is the only property supplied by a water source, and only your family drink the water, Huntingdonshire District Council will not carry out a risk assessment unless you ask us. We will also charge for this service.

    The regulations are designed to be cost neutral, i.e. to be delivered at no cost to the Huntingdonshire District Council.  To enable this the regulations state the maximum fees that can be charged for the various aspects of private water supply work.

    For an up-to-date summary of the costs involved, refer to the 'Private Water Supplies Operational Policy and Procedure Statement'.  For further general information on Private Water Supplies, refer to the Guidance pages of the DWI website.

    Onward Distribution Systems

    If you have recently received a letter with regards to 'Onward Distribution Systems' you can access the electronic version of the questionnaire in the linked documents.



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