Private water supplies

Private water supplies are any supplies of water not provided by the public water supplier. In Northern Ireland less than one per cent of water comes from private water supplies. The DWI monitors private water supplies to ensure they meet standards set within the regulations.

Register of Private Water Supplies

The DWI holds a register of all known private water supplies in Northern Ireland that come under the Private Water Supplies Regulations. The regulations apply to private supplies that serve more than one household for purely domestic purposes, or are used in commercial food and drink production.

To register a new private water supply, please complete and return the registration form:-

The register includes details on site location, description of the source, purpose for which the water is used, volume used, and any treatment of the supply.

If your private water supply is to a single private dwelling it is not required to be monitored by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. You can contact the environmental health department of your local council if you wish to have your supply tested. You can find contact details for your local council on nidirect.

Responsibility of the Owner/User

Owners/users of private water supplies have responsibility under the private water supplies regulations to supply water that is wholesome and safe to drink.

Where a supply is identified as not being safe or wholesome then following an investigation, remedial actions may be necessary to meet the drinking water quality standards.

Compliance

A summary of the drinking water quality of registered private water supplies can be found in the DWI annual report:-

Enforcement and prosecution policy

This policy details the general principles which will be followed in relation to enforcement and prosecution::-

Risk Assessment

The Regulations require a risk assessment to be carried out for each registered supply, covering the whole private supply system, from source to tap. These assessments are deemed the most effective means of consistently ensuring the safety of a drinking water supply and will identify areas where there may be potential contamination.

Legislation

You can view the legislation relating to private water supplies at the links below:-

The above Regulations implement the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) and Directive 2013/51/Euratom in relation to private water supplies and the DWI is, for certain functions, facilitated by the Environmental Health departments of the district councils.

Guidance and Advice

If you own or use a private supply it is important that you are aware of the quality of the supply and the risks associated with it. Guidance and advice for owners and users is available from the following: 

Directive (EU) 2015/1787

Directive (EU) 2015/1787 revised the monitoring and analysis requirements set out in Annex II and Annex III of the Drinking Water Directive. The Department is required to transpose the requirements of the Directive by 27 October 2017. A consultation paper on proposals to introduce new consolidated water quality regulations relating to private drinking water supplies in order to transpose the Directive was issued but is now closed to responses and a synopsis of responses has been published.

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