Public water supplies are supplies where Irish Water manages the abstraction, treatment and distribution of treated water. These supplies are covered by the Drinking Water Regulations and regulated by the EPA.
Public group schemes are supplies where a group water scheme, set up by the local community, manages the distribution of treated water to the users. Irish Water manages the abstraction and treatment of the water.
Private group water schemes are supplies where a group water scheme, set up by the local community, manages the abstraction, treatment and distribution of treated water. They are generally supplied by springs or wells
Small private supplies are supplies serving a commercial or public activity such as hotels, pubs and restaurants, crèches and national schools. The owner or manager of the activity manages the abstraction, treatment, and delivery of the water. Small private supplies are also mostly supplied by wells.
Household wells serve individual private homes, mostly in rural areas. Household wells are also referred to as private wells. The householder is responsible for managing this type of supply.
The EPA is the drinking water quality regulator, responsible for enforcing the Drinking Water Regulations for public water supplies. The EPA is also responsible for auditing the local authorities’ yearly monitoring plans and reporting every year on water quality in both public and private water supplies.
The Local Authorities are the drinking water regulators for regulated private water supplies which covers group water schemes and small private supplies.
The HSE is responsible for public health and must be consulted by Irish Water or the Local Authority 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, and is responsible for ensuring that Irish Water operates in an economical and efficient manner.
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage also has an important role in policy making and funding the private water supply sector.
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 public drinking water supplies: