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Private water supply

Private Water Supplies South Ayrshire 2023

With predictions for weather patterns this summer to be hotter and drier again, it would be a good time for private water supply users  to consider potential storage or resilience options.

Would you know what to do in an emergency? A low flow, or running out of water completely - you should plan now what to do:

Water Scarcity (PDF) [515KB]

Private Water - general information regarding 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 sewage or animal droppings, or may arise from chemical sources, such as fertilizer run-off from fields or deterioration of distribution pipe work.

The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 came into force in October 2017 and repealed the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 for large or commercial supplies (these were formerly known as Type A supplies). Smaller non-commercial supplies (Type B supplies) are still governed by the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

Private water supplies can be prone to contamination by harmful bacteria or chemicals etc. Therefore, it makes good sense to have your water tested to ensure the quality is satisfactory.

If your private water supply serves the public, or a commercial operation then you are required by law to have it tested, this includes self- catering property, food businesses, factories, sports centres, hotels, B&Bs, schools and campsites. A register of supplies and sample results is held by Environmental Health. The cost of such sampling is borne by owners of properties served by the supply.

Our Trading Standards and Environmental Health team would like to notify all members of the public who use private water supplies that the water scarcity warnings are posted up on the SEPA website at

Private Water Supply owners are strongly urged to consider their resilience levels for future drought or water scarcity situations. This could be through installation of  extra water storage solutions for example. Those who fall under the Private Water Supply category should consider putting contingency plans in place should drought and water scarcity arise. A Scottish Government grant by way of financial assistance is available towards the upgrade/improvement of any private water supply. This grant is awarded per property on a private water supply, and conditions apply.

Please do not allow the private water supply to run dry, as this can cause problems on the supply line, to pipelines, sterilisation units, bore well sleeve linings,  etc.

If you are aware that your private water supply is about to run out, please contact Environmental Health immediately on 0300 123 0900 or email:

If you would like a private water supply improvement grant application form, or further information on assistance available contact Environmental Health on 0300 123 0900 or email:

Further information on various aspects of private water supplies can be found on the Scottish Government website.

For further information please contact Environmental Health on 0300 123 0900 or email:

Animal Welfare

In the event of water scarcity animal welfare legislation places certain responsibilities on those in charge of an animal's wellbeing - including during times of drought.

You should make sure livestock and other animals are protected from extreme weather and that sufficient food, water and shelter are provided at all times.

If you need to ration water for livestock or other animals, you should meet the following daily minimum needs:

  • milking cows - 38 to 52 litres (l)
  • other cattle - 38 l
  • horses - 20 to 45 l
  • pigs - 4 to 11.5 l
  • poultry (intensive) - 0.5 l

You may need to allow for more water for very young or old animals, or if the temperature or humidity rises.

If you can't get enough water to your animals, then you should consider transporting the animals to areas where enough water is available, or selling some of your livestock.

You can reduce the amount of water your animals need by:

  • giving them less feed
  • drying off any animals that are in late stage lactation
  • ending egg production

As a last resort you should consider euthanizing your animals humanely rather than letting them suffer.

More information, help and advice can be found on: