Academic literature review on UK Private Water Supply: Author Geoff Nemec

Although most people living in the United Kingdom have access to water supplied by a public water company many rural communities rely solely upon untreated private supplies for their drinking water. A private water supply can be defined as a supply of water not provided by a statutory water company, large authority or corporation.

Other Definitions

Other definitions include; small water supply; rural water supply; community supply or even non-community supply (Clapham, 2004).  Owners of these supplies often refer to them as springs, wells, boreholes, or watercourses and the premises served can be individual houses, farms or businesses, small settlements or villages. The Manual for Private Water Supplies (PWS Technical Manual, 2006) defines a private water supply as a supply not provided by a statutory water undertaker and where the responsibility for its maintenance and repair lies with the owner or the person using it. In some cases a private water supply may only serve a single household and provide less than one cubic metre of water per day or they may serve several properties or commercial / industrial premises and provide 1,000 cubic metres of water, or more each day (Jackson et al., 2001).

1% of UK on a Private Water Supply

Approximately 1% of the United Kingdom population (600,000) derive their potable water from 140,000 private water supplies (Kay et al., 2007). A breakdown of current estimates broadly suggests there are; 50,000 supplies (Jiggins, 2007) in England and Wales serving 330,000 (approximately 0.6%) people with 30,000 of the supplies serving a single dwelling (Jiggins, 2007); 38,000 private water supplies in Scotland (DWI, 1993 cited Reid et al., 2001) serving an estimated population of 60,171 (approximately 1.18%) of the Scottish population (Reid et al., 1999, cited Reid et al., 2001); 1,269 private water supplies in Northern Ireland, 1,152 of which are used by dairy farms (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, 2008).

Calderdale higher than average number of Private Water Supplies

Barraclough et al. (1988) estimated that the number and nature of private water supplies in Calderdale and from these findings Collinge (1989) determined that over 5,000 people, equating to approximately 2.7% of the population in Calderdale were being served by private water supplies. That means Calderdale has more than the average number of Private Water Supplies.

Many rural areas have boreholes and spring water supplies

Many rural areas have boreholes and spring water supplies