Private water supplies

What do you need to do when you have a private water supply?

What is a private water supply?

A private water supply is one that is not provided by a licensed water supplier, eg Anglian Water or Thames Water. The water may come from a spring, well, borehole, pond, lake, river or stream.

If you have a private water supply, it must be registered with Buckinghamshire Council.

Private water supply regulations

Local authorities are responsible for regulating all private water supplies intended for human consumption. The aim is to protect public health by making sure that private water supplies meet the same standards as mains water supply.

Buckinghamshire Council must carry out a risk assessment of all private water supplies in the district every 5 years (except those only supply a single dwelling).

For large supplies (providing more than 10 cubic metres a day), check and audit sampling is also required.

Fees and charges 

The regulations allow local authorities to make reasonable charges to recover the costs associated with providing the services outlined above from private supply owners/operators.

The new fees from 1 April 2020 are:

  • Undertake a risk assessment of a private water supply/distribution system £500.00
  • Undertake a sampling visit to a private water supply/distribution system £100.00
  • Undertake an investigation visit to a private water supply/distribution system £100.00
  • Undertake check monitoring analysis of a private water supply/distribution system £100.00
  • Undertake audit monitoring analysis of a private water supply/distribution system £500.00
  • Grant authorisation to a private water supply/distribution system £100.00

More information

Drinking Water Inspectorate
Private water supply regulations
Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS)
Environment Agency
The provision of alternative supplies in emergency and non emergency situations
Water Supply Borehole Construction and Headworks Guide to Good Practice
World Health Organisation Guidance on Water Safety Plans
DWI Information Note on Private Distribution Systems