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Private water supplies

Advice and information for consumers and businesses using private water supplies.

What is a private water supply?

A private water supply in Scotland is one which is not provided by Scottish Water and can come from surface water, including springs, burns and rivers or groundwater (wells or boreholes).

We are responsible for regulating private water supplies and keep a register of all those within our area. Regular checks are carried out to make sure they are safe to use.

There are two types of private water supply

Regulated supplies

These are governed by the Water intended for human consumption (Private water supplies) (Scotland) regulations 2017.


  • Supplies serving over 50 people or supplies to commercial or public facilities irrespective of size.
  • Sampling and testing to be carried out annually.
  • Risk assessment to be carried out every five years or after any changes to the supply.
  • Commercial premises require to display an information notice for users.

Commercial premises include

  • privately rented properties
  • holiday lets
  • B&Bs
  • hotels
  • farms

Type B supplies

These are governed by the Private water supplies (Scotland) regulations 2006.


  • Supplies serving only domestic premises (supplying less than 50 persons in total).
  • No requirement for statutory sampling or risk assessment.
  • Risk assessment and/or sampling can be carried out by us on request or following a grant application to improve your supply.

Why should I get my drinking water tested and what does this involve?

You, your family and visitors to your home or business all have a right to expect safe, clean drinking water. Testing the water helps discover problems with your supply's quality. The two main groups of impurities that can affect drinking water quality are micro-organisms and chemicals.

If you are on a regulated supply, we will contact you to every year to arrange a sampling appointment and advise if a charge is applicable.

If you are on a type B supply, you must ask us to take a sample. At the moment we won't charge you for this service but we reserve the right to regularly review our charging policy.

Further information is available on the Scottish Government website - making sure your private water supply is safe to drink.

Do I qualify for a grant?

You may be able to get a grant of up to £800 to improve your private water supply. This applies to both regulated and type B supplies.

The grant scheme is not means tested and you may be eligible if

  • Your home or business is in North Lanarkshire
  • Your private supply is your main source of drinking water
  • You need to improve your supply

You can find out more about the grant process and request an application form using the "Contact us" information on this page.

What to do if your private water supply runs dry

For private water supplies, the users of the supply are responsible for ensuring there is enough water available to them.

In certain circumstances, the Council may be able to provide emergency assistance if a supply has or is going to run dry. Up to 20 litres of bottled water per person per day can be provided for domestic premises.

Please note - commercial premises, farms, equestrian or other livestock facilities are not eligible for assistance unless domestic premises are present.

Contact the Business Regulation Service if you need further advice or assistance.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) produces a weekly update on water scarcity which those with private water supplies should check regularly.

Using water wisely

Further advice on how to conserve water can be found on our using water wisely page.

Page last updated:
20 Oct 2020

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