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Water regulations

The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, commonly referred to as "The Water Regulations," came into force on 1 July 1999 and are secondary legislation made under sections 74, 84 and 213(2) of the Water Industry Act 1999.

Essentially they are a set of government rules that set out how plumbing installations are installed used and maintained throughout England and Wales. The Regulations Apply to any plumbing installation that is connected either directly or indirectly to the mains (water company derived) supply, even if the system has not yet been connected.

The Water Regulations help to prevent Waste, Misuse, Undue Consumption, Contamination and Erroneous Measurement of the water supplied.

The primary focus of the water regulations is to protect public health and to keep the water we supply safe to use for domestic purposes and free from contamination. Contamination can occur for a number of reasons, including from a poorly installed, maintained or misused plumbing installation.

It is the job of the local water undertaker (supply company) to enforce the requirements of the water regulations and check pluming installations for compliance. In Devon, Cornwall and small parts of Somerset and Dorset this responsibility falls on South West Water. Our team of Water Regulations Officers carry out routine water regulations compliance inspections of new and existing premises on both internal and external plumbing installations within our area of supply. For more information please read our pdficon.gif icon Enforcement Policy (194kb) and pdficon.gif icon Prosecution Policy (170kb)

If you are thinking about installing a new plumbing system, changing the use of a building, altering the plumbing installation in a non-domestic premises, installing or backing up an alternative water source with mains water, for example a rain water harvesting system or bore hole supply, it is highly likely that our Water Regulations Department would need to be informed (notified) and carry out compliance inspections at different stages. The water regulations department can be contacted by email waterregs@southwestwater.co.uk or by telephone on 01392 443322.

When undertaking plumbing works on water systems it is still legally permissible for anyone to carry out this type of work. However, where possible we would always recommend using a Water Industry Approved Plumber. This not only helps maintain standards but also provides safe guards to customers. Water Industry Approved Contractors should provide certificate to certify that the work they done complies with the requirements of the water regulations. WaterSafe is a new national umbrella organisation who brings together plumbers from all of the approved contractor schemes under one simple search and can be found at https://www.watersafe.org.uk/

Alternatively, for more details about the water regulations and approved contractor schemes please visit the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) web pages http://www.wras.co.uk/Default.asp and http://www.wras.co.uk/wiaps/ or telephone them on 0333 207 9030

Downloads & useful links:

Enforcement Policy  - Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999

pdficon.gif icon Enforcement Policy (194kb)

Prosecution Policy

pdficon.gif icon Prosecution Policy (170kb)

Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS):
An independent organisation funded by the water industry who act as an advisory body for the Government, Water Industry, Plumbing Industry and general public.


Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme (WIAPS):
A scheme run under WRAS. One of several schemes approved by the Regulator (the Government Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs [ DEFRA]) where plumbers can sign off their work as Regulations compliant.


WaterSafe Approved Contractor Scheme:
Plumbing companies and contractors can join if their employees are in a government approved scheme such as WIAPS. Run by WRAS the quality and compliance of their work is monitored.


The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999:
Secondary legislation made under the requirements of the Water Industry Act to ensure that any plumbing installation supplied by a water company maintains the quality of water supplied and is not capable of Contaminating, Wasting, Misusing or Unduly Consuming it.


The Water Industry Act 1991:
Primary legislation which governs and sets out standards for the supply of water to customers and disposal of waste water by water companies.


South West Water New Water Connections Department:
To request a new water supply call 0800 083 1821


Notification of Intent to Install Plumbing:
Under the Regulations, with the exception of extension and alteration of domestic dwellings, any plumbing alterations to be commenced where a water company supplies the water require the approval of that water company.


For futher information:

Water Regulations Department, Peninsula House, Rydon Lane, Exeter, EX2 7HR.

Phone 01392 443322.

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