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Private water supplies

In East Ayrshire, many premises both private and commercial get their water from a private supply.

A private water supply is one which is not provided by Scottish Water. It may come from a loch, burn, spring, well, river, pond, borehole, or a combination of these. The supply can serve only one property, or a number of different properties.

In East Ayrshire we have almost 400 private water supplies.

Private water supplies are, by their nature, very vulnerable to contamination that may cause waterborne infections or other ill effects. Contamination can be bacteriological in nature from:

  • faecal matter such as human sewerage or animal droppings
  • chemical sources, such as fertiliser or pesticide run-off from fields
  • deterioration of distribution pipe work, for example lead, copper, nickel or zinc
  • natural sources such as soils and rocks, for example iron, manganese or arsenic

How to register private water supplies

All private water supplies must be registered with us so we can update our register.

We use this information to share with other organisations such as SEPA, and to ensure that supplies are not affected by pollution or development incidents. We will also communicate with you in times of water scarcity and update you on legislation.

If you have a private water supply and you want to check if it is registered with us, please email

Types of water supplies

There are two types of supplies which are categorised based on the regulations that define them. Both need to meet the wholesomeness standards defined in those regulations.

The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 – ‘Regulated Supplies’

These supplies serve 50 or more persons, or supply commercial or public activities regardless of size.

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 – ‘Type B Supplies’

These serve only domestic premises with less than 50 person in total.

Regulated supplies

Regulated Supplies fall within the provisions of the EC Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) which requires each supply to be sampled and analysed for a wide range of parameters at least once a year.

These supplies serve premises of a commercial or public nature and include:

  • self-catering premises
  • hotels
  • schools
  • food businesses
  • manufacturing
  • campsites
  • short-term lets
  • private lets
  • social landlords

We routinely monitor these high risk supplies as part of our statutory duties via a sampling programme. The information gathered is available in our public register.

Risk assessments and sampling charges

These supplies are also required to have a risk assessment carried out by the local authority at least once every five years. This risk assessment provides information to owners and users about any actions they need to take to improve the supply and any risks to human health from the use of the supply.

It is our intention to charge for both sampling and risk assessment activities from September 2024. If you are a supply owner, we will be in contact with you in the next few months regarding this.

Type B supplies

Type B Supplies have to comply with a limited range of parameters and do not require annual sampling or risk assessment by the local authority. We can do this on request, and from 1 April 2024 there will be a charge for this.

Charges for private water supplies

Regulated supply sample £209
Regulated supply risk assessment £100
Type B sample £148
Type B risk assessment £50
Lead sampling/repairing standard £35

If you wish to discuss your private water supply with us, or request a sample or a risk assessment, please contact us.

Changes to repairing standard – additional responsibilities for registered landlords

The statutory guidance for landlords changed on 1 March 2024.

It now clearly sets out the responsibility to provide a wholesome drinking water supply for tenants:

  • the water must be tested at the start of any new tenancy and annually thereafter
  • additionally, it is the responsibility of landlords to check the condition of pipework supply drinking water are in good condition, and safe to use ensuring there is no remaining lead supply pipework within rented properties

This applies to properties served by mains water supplies. Lead is one of the parameters tested within the analysis for private water supplies. Regulated Supplies must be tested annually.

Registered Landlords can contact us and we can test the water supply for lead content, as per the charges in the above table.

Contact Information


Pollution Control Team
Telephone: 01563 576790
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Friday