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Drinking water

Drinking water is water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.

Most households and businesses will have access to drinking water from a mains water supply.

A private water supply is one which is not provided by a water company. We are responsible for the regulation of private water supplies.

On this page:

Mains water supplies

If you pay your water rates to a statutory provider, you can contact them using the details below.

Wessex Water

Phone: 0345 600 4600
Visit the Wessex Water website.

Report a leak

Phone: 0800 692 0692 (24 hours)
Report a leak via online form.

Southern Water

Phone: 0800 820999 (freephone) or 0330 3030146 (local call charge)
Visit the Southern Water website.

Report a leak

Phone: 0330 3030368 (emergencies)
Report a leak via online form.

Bournemouth Water

Phone: 01202 590059
Visit the Bournemouth Water website.

Report a leak

Phone: 0800 5878 979
Report a leak via online form.

Enquiries about mains water supplies

For general water quality enquiries, or where a water company does not resolve a problem with drinking water quality, contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Phone: 0300 068 6400


Drinking Water Inspectorate
Area 7e
9 Millbank c/o Nobel House
17 Smith Square

The office is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, except for bank holidays.

Private water supplies

Most private water supplies are in rural locations and are from wells, boreholes, springs or streams. Approximately one per cent of the population in England and Wales has a private water supply to their homes.

The Private Water Supplies Regulations 2018 (Amendment) Regulations set out standards for the quality of the water and placed a duty on us to sample and risk assess these supplies.

The person responsible for a private water supply is called the 'relevant person', although there may be more than one. A relevant person is defined in the Water Industry Act 1991 as:

  • the owner or occupier of the premises supplied
  • the owner or occupier of the premises where the source of the supply is situated, even if the source lies outside the local authority's area
  • any other person who exercises powers of management or control in relation to that source.

Private water supplies are categorised into four groups:

  1. Single domestic dwellings: A supply serving only one owner occupied property.
  2. Small supplies (Regulation 10): Supplying fewer than 50 people with water used for domestic purposes.
  3. Large supplies (Regulation 9): Supplying over 10 cubic metres of water per day for domestic purposes or serving commercial premises. These include bed and breakfasts, holiday lets, any rented domestic properties, food production businesses or public buildings.
  4. Private distribution systems (Regulation 8): Where mains water is distributed to a number of properties through a private network of pipes.

Risk assessment

The regulations require us to carry out a risk assessment of Regulations 8, 9 and 10 private water supplies at least every five years.

This involves surveying the supply to identify the risks (potential failures of standards and risks to human health) and to take action to control those risks.

Monitoring and sampling

The regulations stipulate how frequently and for which parameters each category of private water supply will be sampled, as detailed below.

  • Single domestic dwellings: unless requested by the supply owner, no sampling is required.
  • Small supplies (regulation 10): sampling is carried out at least once every five years. Samples are tested for a reduced set of parameters compared to regulation 9 supplies. These are listed in the regulations as Group A parameters.
  • Large/commercial (regulation 9): sampled at least annually depending on the volume of water used, or if there are concerns that warrant increased monitoring. Parameters for regulation 9 supplies include both Group A and Group B parameters.
  • Private distribution systems (regulation 8): receive the same five-yearly group a sampling as small supplies, unless there is a requirement for increased monitoring.


All quality failures must be investigated immediately, to determine the cause of the failure and whether it was caused by the condition of the distribution system.

We must require remedial action, and will prohibit or restrict the use of water if it could be harmful to health.

Where appropriate, notices will be served to improve, restrict or prohibit unwholesome supplies.

Failure to comply with the notices may result in either works in default or prosecution in a Magistrates Court.

Fees and charges

The regulations make provisions for local authorities to charge fees to the relevant person(s) for conducting duties under these regulations.

Contact details

You can contact us regarding drinking water using the details below.


Phone: 02380 285411

Environmental Health
Food Safety Team
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

Our office hours are:

Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5.15pm

Friday: 8.45am to 4.45pm

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