Water regulations

This section explains the aims of the Water Supply Regulations.

These are requirements for design, installation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances in domestic and commercial property in England and Wales.


Main requirements

The three main requirements of the regulations are:

  • Plumbing systems, water fittings and water using appliances must be installed and maintained to comply with the regulations
  • Contamination of drinking water must be prevented
  • Advance notice of plumbing installation work must be given.

The regulations are designed to prevent:

  • The inefficient use or waste of water
  • Contamination of drinking water supplies
  • Incorrect measurement of water supplied.

Notification of proposed works

Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999

Who has to comply with the Regulations?

Owners and occupiers of premises and anyone who installs plumbing systems or water fittings have a legal duty to ensure that their water systems comply with the Regulations.


Incorrectly installed plumbing that creates contamination of the water supply could lead to prosecution and fines, and the potentially considerable cost of restoring the water system to become fit for drinking purposes.


We are responsible for the enforcement of the Regulations in our water supply area. We will undertake random inspections of new and existing installations to check that the regulations are being applied.

It is a criminal offence to knowingly breach the Regulations and offenders may face prosecution.


The Regulations state that anyone installing new water fittings must ensure they are of the appropriate quality and standard and are properly installed.

Complying with the Regulations prevents drinking water becoming contaminated with water designed for other uses such as central heating, washing machines, dishwashers and industrial processes.

Where a breach of the Regulations is found, we will require it to be remedied as soon as practicable, subject to the severity of risk. If it poses a risk to health, the supply to the premises may be disconnected immediately.