The Quality of Scotland's Drinking Water Improves yet Again

Issued on behalf of the Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland.

The Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) for Scotland’s latest annual report shows that Scottish Water’s compliance with the standards for drinking water in 2016 was the best ever recorded.

Scottish Water take and analyse samples of drinking water from across Scotland 365 days a year. The report on Drinking Water Quality in Scotland 2015 states that a total of 308,356 regulatory tests were carried out on Scotland’s drinking water last year. Of those taken from samples at consumers’ taps, 99.92% met the required standards. This is the best ever compliance, and demonstrates the progress made by Scottish Water since the company was formed in 2002 when 99.28% of samples met the required standards.

The DWQR’s role is to ensure that drinking water supplies comply with regulatory requirements. In 2015, DWQR staff carried out 26 technical inspections and responded to 78 contacts from consumers. Of the 746 event notifications received from Scottish Water, most were classified as not significant, but 35 were declared incidents and investigated in more detail.

Sue Petch the Drinking Water Quality Regulator said:

“These results demonstrate the very high quality of Scottish drinking water and show that it continues to improve.

“Consumers in Scotland are generally more satisfied with the taste and appearance of their tap water. Last year, only 0.2% of consumers reported concerns with the quality of their supply, almost half that of numbers reported six years ago. When concerns are reported, they are thoroughly investigated and, where necessary, action is taken to resolve the situation.

“It is vital that the progress that has been made is maintained and further built upon. Scottish Water must ensure their assets and procedures are resilient and able to cope with a wide range of challenges.”

Notes to editors

A full copy of Drinking Water Quality in Scotland 2015 is available at

Drinking water quality regulation began in Scotland in 1991 and drinking water quality was monitored by the Scottish Executive and its predecessor before the role of DWQR was created in 2002, at the same time as Scottish Water. An annual report is presented to Scottish Ministers detailing the assessment of drinking water quality during the previous year. This is the 14th annual report.

The DWQR is independent of Scottish Ministers and ensures that the drinking water quality duties imposed on Scottish Water are complied with. DWQR reviews water quality data from samples taken by Scottish Water and undertakes targeted audits examining all aspects of its operations. The Regulator also supervises enforcement of the Private Water Supply Regulations by local authorities (detailed in a separate report to be published in September).

Where drinking water does not meet the required standard, the Regulator has powers to investigate and ensure problems are resolved. This can involve taking enforcement action or prosecution.

The DWQR also has a role in helping to define Scottish Water’s investment programme and is committed to ensuring that drinking water supplies in Scotland are of the highest possible standard.


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