Private water supplies for Scottish holiday homes

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Private water supplies for Scottish holiday homes

If you own a holiday home in Scotland and your water comes from a private source rather than the regular mains water supply, you should make sure that you are aware of your responsibilities and the risks associated with such water supplies.

Transient users such as holiday visitors are thought to be more vulnerable to illnesses caused by using private water supplies, so it is extremely important to take care of your disinfection treatment and to make sure you are compliant with the relevant regulations.

Why is this important?

Private water supplies may be vulnerable to bacterial contamination which could potentially cause illnesses such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli O157 and Cryptosporidium. Information collected by the Scottish Government indicates that around 30% of private water samples show bacterial contamination, with many of these samples being taken from properties fitted with poorly maintained disinfection treatment.

What do I need to do?

The first step is to register with your Local Authority Environment Service and get them to assess the supply risk. It is a statutory requirement for your local authority to test the water annually to ensure the supply is safe at every cold water tap within the property.

Current regulations also stipulate that you must display an information poster to inform your guests about the water supply. You should also have a contingency plan detailing the actions to be taken in case of bacteriological failure or treatment malfunction.

Will I have to make changes to my property?

A member of your local authority will visit your property and conduct a risk assessment before giving advice regarding possible improvements, or ‘Approved Works’. The good news is that non-means tested grants of up to £800 per property are available to assist with any costs incurred.

If your water supply doesn’t meet the current regulatory standards...

It may pose a potential risk to public health and enforcement action is likely to be taken against you. You could also be subject to legal action by your guests as a result.

Further information, including relevant contacts for your local authority are available at