Renfrewshire Council

Private water supply

Affected by your domestic private water supply drying up?

Where your private water supply is drying up or has completely dried up due to a lack of rainfall, the Council over this spring/summer is able to deliver bottled water to your property. At this time, deliveries will be made to your property for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene purposes within domestic property only. If your supply is affected please contact this service on the email or telephone number which is at the bottom of this page and someone will contact you to discuss your situation and requirements.

Private water supplies

The majority of properties within Renfrewshire are provided with 'mains' drinking water, by Scottish Water who treats the water to ensure it is of good quality.

However a small number of properties use a private water supply for drinking purposes.

A private water supply may come from a loch, burn, spring, well, river, pond, borehole or a combination of these.

Private water supplies are, by their nature, very vulnerable to contamination that may cause waterborne infections or other ill effects. Contamination can be bacteriological in nature, from faecal matter such as human sewage or animal droppings, or may arise from chemical sources, such as fertilizer run-off from fields or deterioration of distribution pipe work.

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 came into force on 3 July 2006 and replaced The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 1992. Scottish Statutory Instrument documents explaining the latest regulations can be viewed on the Legislation website: The Private Water Supplies (Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and The Private Water Supplies (Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Under these regulations private water supplies are defined as either:

  • Type A - Supplies serving 50 or more persons, or supplies to commercial or public activities irrespective of size, or
  • Type B - Supplies serving only domestic premises with less than 50 persons supplied.

Type A supplies fall within the provisions of the E.C. Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) which require each supply to be sampled and analysed for a wide range of parameters at least once a year. Commercial premises are also required to display an information notice; a copy of the notice can be obtained from us by email. 

Staff from Community Resources routinely monitors these high risk supplies as part of their statutory duties. The information gathered is made available for public scrutiny in the form of a Public Register of Private Supplies.

Type B supplies are required to comply with a limited range of parameters that are defined in the regulations but do not form part of a statutory sampling programme. Information on Type B supplies is also recorded within the public register.

Risk Assessments for Private Water Supplies

If you are on a Type A supply your supply will have already been risk assessed, if however, you do not think this is the case, please contact us to arrange a visit.

If you are on a Type B supply then you will need to contact us to arrange a visit to undertake a risk assessment. This will attract a small charge however, should you subsequently apply for a grant to carry out works to improve the supply, the cost of the visit will be free.

During the risk assessment visit, a member of our staff along with you or other relevant and/or interested persons will look at the whole supply from its source to the taps. The visit is likely to take 1 - 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the supply. The process is designed to include all types and sizes of supply, it highlights possible contamination routes and increases awareness of the potential risks and the importance of ongoing maintenance amongst users. The benefits include an impartial investigation of the whole supply and sound advice regarding suitable treatment. A feedback letter and report will detail improvements, if required. This letter will provide the basis for you obtaining quotes from suitable tradesmen to carry out work in your private water supply grant and also give you valuable information on looking after your supply.
You can find more information regarding private water supplies at Private Water Supplies web site.

Maintaining your Private Water Supply

In order to keep your private water supply functioning correctly you need to keep the supply system clean and well maintained. For further advice please contact us direct or visit the Scottish Government site Private Water Supplies Advice.

Sampling of Private Water Supplies

Type A Supplies: These are routinely sampled as part of our statutory sampling programme and all Type A supplies require to be sampled on an annual basis.  If you are responsible for a Type A supply, you will be contacted in advance to arrange a suitable time for the supply to be sampled. All results of the sampling will be provided to you.

Type B supplies: There is no duty on the Council to routinely sample such supplies but we are required to ensure that such supplies are, and remain, safe to drink. Therefore, the Council will sample Type B supplies on request but we are also commencing a sampling programme where we will sample all Type B supplies on a rolling five year cycle.

Where there are water quality failures within samples of either Type A or B supplies, we will require that improvement works are undertaken to ensure the water is safe to drink. This may include taking appropriate enforcement action to require persons responsible for the supply to ensure improvement works are completed. Such action would be proportionate to the risks posed and in line with our Integrated Enforcement Policy.

Grant Assistance for Improving Private Supplies

Grants of up to £800 are available from the Council to help you improve your private water supply irrespective of it being a type A or B supply. This may include the installation of treatment equipment, or for the provision of a new private water supply or domestic distribution system (within the meaning of the 2006 Regulations) but does not include connection of your property to a mains water supply.

The Grant Scheme is non-means tested and you may be eligible for financial assistance if:

  • Your home or business is in the Renfrewshire area and served by a private water supply;
  • The private water supply is the main or sole source of water for human consumption purposes to these premises; and
  • Your private water supply is in need of improvement to bring it up to modern standards.

If you share your supply with a number of neighbouring premises, you may wish to consider making a joint application. A joint application can be submitted in respect of all the premises served by the supply, by you and the other owners or occupiers acting together. In the majority of cases, a joint approach is likely to provide the most effective long-term solution to improve your water quality.

The cost of improving a private supply can vary and there will be instances where the supply requires work that exceeds the £800 grant. In such cases, it will be your responsibility to meet the additional costs. We can provide information and advice about the Grant Scheme and help you complete the application form.

You should not start any of the improvement works before your application is approved and we have agreed that the expenditure is necessary. A risk assessment of your supply will be carried out by an Officer from this department to establish the details of improvements required to conform to the Private Water Supplies (Regulations) 2006. There will be a charge for this, but if you are on a type B supply, this will be carried out as part of the grant scheme for free.

There are some exceptions to Grant approval, the most common being:

  • New builds.
  • Houses under Closing Orders, Demolition Orders or a Dangerous Building Notice.
  • Empty or unoccupied premises,
  • Connection to the mains

Further details of these restrictions and others can be supplied upon request.

If you are on a type B supply and you receive a grant, there are no ongoing obligations for sampling or other commitments to the Council.

For initial enquiries regarding the Grant, or any of the information above, please contact us.

Private Water Supplies Charging

The information below, details the maximum charges which will be applied for water sampling, analysis and risk assessments. The exact costs may vary, depending on the nature of the analysis.

  1. Type A and B supplies- £70 for each visit made to a property to sample a supply or to undertake a risk assessment
  2. Type A supplies-  £75 per analysis of check monitoring parameters
  3. Type A supplies- a maximum charge of £435 per analysis of the full suite of audit monitoring parameters (will vary according to actual analysis costs).
  4. Type B supplies- £48 per analysis of domestic parameters
  5. For Type A supplies the completion of an initial risk assessment in accordance with regulation 16 and Schedule 4 a maximum charge of £50;
  6. Expenses reasonably incurred in undertaking additional monitoring and sampling of a private supply in accordance with the provisions of regulation 25 or 30 (this relates to sampling outwith either the check monitoring or audit monitoring sampling e.g. for a specific complaint about water quality which may be contaminated with some parameter not usually tested) will be charged.