Drinking water quality in Scotland 2019: annual report on private water supplies
16 September 2020
The Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) has published its annual report on the quality of private water supplies in Scotland.
According to the report, a total of 48,384 tests were taken from regulated private water supplies in 2019, which are those supplying more than 50 people, or a commercial activity. Of these tests, 89.8% of tests met the required standard, but 14.5% of these supplies had a sample that contained E. coli, an infection which indicates faecal contamination and potentially causes serious illness. Compliance figures have not improved in recent years, and the 2019 results represent a deterioration on 2018 for many types of test.
Private water supplies are those owned and managed by individuals rather than Scottish Water and around 3.3% of the Scottish population receive their water from them. The supplies range from those serving a single house to much larger numbers of houses as well as hotels, tourist accommodation and other businesses.
Many of the very small types of supplies have little or no treatment and where water from these supplies does not meet the standards, there may be a risk to the health of those drinking from them. According to the latest report, a significant number do not meet the required drinking water standards and almost certainly represent a risk to health.