Scotland toasts its highest-ever water quality but concerns over private supplies

SCOTLAND’S drinking water has reached its highest-ever level of quality with more than 99% of samples complying with regulatory standards.
The statistic is contained in the annual report by the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) on the quality of public supplies during 2011.
Last year Scottish Water carried out more than 320,000 tests on water at treatment works, storage reservoirs and consumers’ taps. Of the 151,897 tests on samples taken directly from taps in homes, 99.84% met the standard.
Drinking Water Quality Regulator Sue Petch commented: “Scottish consumers can be confident that their drinking water is thoroughly tested and that it meets some of the highest quality standards in the world. The over-all standard of public water supplies remains extremely high.
“There has been a significant improvement over the last 10 years, as Scottish Water has, and continues to, invest in improving the quality of drinking water.”
The number of samples failing the standards decreased from 1,076 in 2002 to 238 in 2011.
Most parameters showed improved compliance in 2011, particularly trihalomethane. However, some did not show improvement, notably those concerning microbiology, and Scottish Water has pledged to improve the level of investigation where failures do occur.
Not everyone in Scotland receives their drinking water from Scottish Water. Around 3% of the population receive water from a private water supply and the quality of some of those supplies remains of concern, with 18% of samples taken by local authorities containing the E.coli bacterium.
Petch continued: “Local authorities across Scotland are working hard to communicate to the owners and users the potential risk these private supplies pose, and offer support to make improvements. DWQR will continue to monitor progress and assist where necessary.”