Drinking water quality

The supply of high quality drinking water is the cornerstone of the water industry's primary duty to protect public health.

small boy drinking water

Once again the excellent quality of our drinking water across the UK has been confirmed as being among the best in the world.

Across the UK, 29 water companies provide drinking water to over 64 million people. Water is treated at over 1500 treatment works and delivered to our homes and buildings through over 420,000km of distribution mains (enough to go 10 times round the world). In 2014, water companies carried out over 4.5 million tests of our water for around 50 different chemical and microbiologal substances. Each of these has a standard, set by law, that must be met. Only 2100 of these 4.5 million failed to reach these standards. This puts public water supplies in the UK amongst some of the very best in the world.

This achievement is built on a foundation of well managed companies and robust regulation providing a sustained period of carefully targeted investment over the past 25 years. The results speak for themselves - with over 99.95% compliance in 2014 against tough quality standards - but there is still work to do. Legacy issues remain to be fully addressed in some areas and new challenges are emerging: pressures of population growth, climate change, and competing needs for use of a limited resources.

The water industry is well positioned to become even stronger over the next 25 years - to build and grow from where it is today. Established to protect public health, and meeting that aim in terms of quality, the industry still sees much to do to maintain public confidence and promote tap water as the key source of healthy hydration within our society.

Water UK works independently and in collaboration with governments, regulators and stakeholders to develop the policy that will aid the industry in delivering its primary duty in the face of these challenges.

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