If you are in the process of building or purchasing a new property in a rural area of Scotland, you may need to consider setting up a new private water supply if your property cannot be connected to the mains supply provided by Scottish Water.

Setting up a new supply can be expensive and time consuming, so it is important to do your research before commencing works.

We recommend speaking with your local council before setting up a private water supply, as they will be able to advise you additional information regarding where to set up your supply and local geographical features that may impact your supply.

The Scottish Government also offers a private water supply grant of up to £800 per property to help fund the building of a new supply, or maintenance of an existing one.

Locating a water source

The first step in setting up your own private water supply is locating a reliable water source. Your local council may have recommendations as to reliable water sources in your area and places to avoid.

Any water source must be adequately risk assessed to check for potential contaminants in the water. With this information, you can ensure you have the correct treatments and filtration systems in place to ensure it is safe for consumption.


Boreholes are holes that have been drilled to access a water supply that runs deep underground.

Boreholes are usually a very reliable source as due to the water being so deep underground, it is unlikely it will be affected by variations in the environment such as changing weather and use of land.

However, it is important to note that water found in a borehole often has a higher metal or mineral content, so additional treatment will be required to ensure the water is fit for consumption.

Drilling a borehole is one of the more expensive means of locating a water supply, but due to the reliability of the water, it is now one of the more preferred methods and can save you money in the long run.

Surface Water

Surface water includes naturally occurring water sources that are usually filled by rainwater such as shallow wells, springs, lochs or burns.

These sources are heavily affected by the weather, and it is important to risk assess the supply so you are confident the supply will not dry up in periods of very dry weather, and what the impact of very heavy rain may be. Flooding is also a prominent risk, due to its ability to damage equipment used in your supply and block pipes.

Due to their location, surface water supplies are often affected by bugs and chemicals from wild animals or existing discharges and land use.

Pollution is also a large risk for surface water supplies depending on their location. Local farms and forestry areas may also pose an additional risk.

Where possible, try to find a surface water supply that is an adequate distance from active land use.

Whenever using surface water for your private water supply, make sure you are regularly treating and maintaining the supply and that water sampling is regularly completed.

Once you have found your source

As with any property you own, it is important to make sure your supply is secure.

Building a fence around the supply will protect it from local wildlife and adding a good quality lid should stop vermin getting into the water.

You may also want to add the source to your property deeds if possible, or if the source is on someone else’s land you will need to make sure you have permission to use, maintain and improve the supply.

Choosing your equipment  

PHX Water have a variety of equipment for private water supplies including pipes, tanks and fittings at our shop in Perth. Our team are also experts in these products and will be able to give you professional advice and recommendations as to which items would best suit your water source.

If you are choosing your own equipment, make sure any items are lead-free and made from approved materials to avoid water contamination and early decay of your system.

Another point to consider is the size of your tank. You want a tank that is large enough to provide an adequate amount of water to the property but not so much that the water becomes stagnant.

Maintaining your supply

Once you have set up your private water supply it is important that you carry our regular maintenance and testing to ensure the supply is working efficiently and safely.

Speak to a member of the PHX Water team to discuss what routine methods would be most effective for your supply, and book your next appointment in.

PHX Water carry out water tank cleaning and disinfection, along with water sampling and legionella risk assessments.

For an all-in-one package for your private water supply, call us on +44 (0) 1738 231670.

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borehole,private water supplies,private water supply,risk assessment,surface water
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