Drinking water

Where does our drinking water come from? Depending on where you live, your water supply either comes from a public water supply operated by Irish Water, or a private water supply such as group water schemes or your own household well.

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Drinking Water

Depending on where you live, your water supply either comes from a public water supply operated by Irish Water, or a private water supply such as group water schemes or your own household well.

What's happening?

Tap at kitchen sink

What is the quality of drinking water in Ireland?

The EPA produces an annual Public Supply Drinking Water Report and Private Supply Drinking Water Report, which provide an overview of the quality of drinking water in public and private supplies.

Who does what?

Irish Water is responsible for providing public water services and ensuring drinking water quality meets the standards in the Drinking Water Regulations.

The EPA is the drinking water quality regulator for public water supplies, responsible for enforcing the Drinking Water Regulations.

The Local Authorities are the drinking water regulators for private water supplies, responsible for enforcing the Drinking Water Regulations for group water schemes and businesses that have their own well. If you get your drinking water from a group water scheme you can find more information on the National Federation of Group Water Schemes website. 

The HSE is responsible for public health and must be consulted by Irish Water where there is a failure to meet the standards in the Drinking Water Regulations, or where there is a public health risk.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is the economic regulator, responsible for ensuring that Irish Water operates in an economical and efficient manner.


Public Supply Drinking Water Report

Private Supply Drinking Water Report


What's being done?

The EPA has identified the most important issues, which should be addressed on a national level, to protect and improve drinking water supplies. These are the national priorities for drinking water supplies:

  • Keeping water free from harmful bacteria (disinfection)
  • Minimising harmful disinfection by-products
  • Eliminating lead from pipework
  • Preventing pesticides from entering our waters
  • Managing risks to water supplies
  • Ensuring all water treatment plants are effective

Here's what you can do to make sure your drinking water is safe:

Drinking water Publications

in: Drinking Water
Crosserlough lake
Drinking Water Quality in Private Group Schemes and Small Private Supplies


This report provides an overview of the quality of drinking water in private group schemes and small private supplies

EPA Drinking Water Audit Reports

The EPA carries out audits at water treatment plants to ensure that public water supplies comply with the Drinking Water Regulations, and in response to drinking water quality failures or incidents

EPA Advice and Guidance

The EPA has published a number of information leaflets on how to protect our drinking water sources and guidance for drinking water suppliers on best practice for operating drinking water treatment plants.

FAQs about Drinking water

in: Drinking water

Irish Water is responsible for the monitoring of public water supplies and Local Authorities are responsible for monitoring of group water schemes and regulated small private supplies.

Popular FAQ's

  • My home heating oil or fuel storage tank is near my well, should I be worried?

    If the tank is within 30 m of your well you should make sure any spills or leakages from the tank into the well or the surrounding soils will be contained.  To do this you should have a properly constructed bund around the tank.  If you notice you have to refill your tank more frequently than normal this may indicate there is a leak in the tank or pipework.  This should be investigated as soon as possible. If you become aware of a spillage you should report this to your local authority and arrange for your well to be tested.

  • Where can I get information on drinking water quality standards?

    You can get information on the current drinking water quality standards from the most recent EPA reports on The Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland.

  • Where can I get information on health?

    For information on your or your familieis health contact your local HSE Environmental Health Officer. The HSE has published information on the risk of illness from well water, E Coli (VTEC) and cryptosporidiosis.  The HSE cautions against switching from public water supplies to existing priavte wells.

  • My water smells sometimes, what is causing this and should I be concerned?

    There are several types of possible smells from your well, all with different causes.  The most common types of odour are rotten eggs (from sulphur reducing bacteria), mustiness, sewage/slurry, hydrocarbons (i.e. petrol, diesel or kerosene) and chlorine (if the well has been disinfected).  Some of these odours may indicate a risk to your health and you should arrange for your well to be tested.  You should boil the water if you suspect contamination with infectious organisms (bacteria / bugs/germs).  You should advice the laboratory of the odour you detect in the water when getting it tested.

    Some contaminants such as E. coli may not cause your water to smell.   Even if there is no odour it is advisable to get your well tested at least once per year (ideally during poor weather conditions to rule out breakthrough contamination when the supply would be more vulnerable).

  • How far away should landspreading be from my well?

    Landspreading of organic or soiled water (e.g. slurry) is not permitted within 25 m of a private well/spring.  Furthermore, areas for the storage of farmyard manure, slatted sheds, slurry storage and silage clamps should be at least 50 m from a private well. The farmyard itself should be 15 m from the private well/spring.

    The Householder Information on Private Wells section of our website has detailed information and useful guidance, including frequently asked questions, in relation to protecting, testing, treating and maintaining your private well.

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