The 2022 Annual Reports for Private Water Supplies has been published by Scotland’s Drinking Water Quality Regulator.
In 2022, the data provided to the DWQR by local authorities showed that there are 22,829 private supplies in Scotland. This data confirms that around 190,000 people live or work in premises that rely daily on a PWS. This is about 3.5% of the Scottish population. This figure, however, does not take into account the large numbers of people such as visitors and tourists who may use premises with a private water supply.
The majority of PWS are located in rural areas, though some are located in areas where there is a public supply of water available. Highland Council has the most regulated supplies, but Aberdeenshire has by far the largest number of PWS overall.
All Regulated supplies must be tested for a specific set of parameters (chemical and microbiological) that are important for public health. In 2022 the parameter with most failures was Coliform Bacteria, with 25% of samples failing this test. This compares with 23.1% in 2021. E. coli and pH were the next most commonly failing parameters, reflecting the lack of robust treatment on many private water supplies. Only one enforcement notice was issued by local authorities in 2022 for Regulated supplies.
Specific legislation and guidance is in place for PWS for local authorities. This includes The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (“the 2017 Regulations” The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (legislation.gov.uk) and The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (“the 2006 Regulations”) The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (legislation.gov.uk).