The Water Forum welcomes the EPA Drinking Water Quality in Private Group Schemes and Small Private Supplies 2021 report published today. The report provides an update on the quality of drinking water supplied by over 380 private group schemes to approximately 200,000 people and a further 1,700 small private supplies in premises like hotels, pubs and restaurants, creches, nursing homes and national schools that supply drinking water to approximately 60,000 staff, customers and service users on a daily basis. The vast majority of these supplies are in rural areas that are not connected to a public water supply.
The Forum is concerned that the overall quality of drinking water from both Private Group Schemes and Small Private Supplies continues to lag behind the quality of drinking water from public water supplies. The upcoming reform of water services by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and, in particular, the review of rural water services, provides an opportunity to deal with this issue and put in place the necessary measures to increase levels of protection for people who are relying on these private supplies for their drinking water.
At a very minimum, all private supplies need to be registered by their local authority and the appropriate monitoring conducted each year to check the quality of water supplied. Each local authority needs to have a programme in place to oversee private supplies in their areas and to take the necessary enforcement action where deficiencies are identified.
Water Forum Research Report on the Protection of Small Private Supplies