A private water supply (rather than a 'mains' supply) can come from sources including:

  • boreholes
  • springs
  • burns
  • ponds
  • wells

Private water supplies are vulnerable to contamination that may cause infections or other ill effects.

As part of the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006, the council must keep a register of the private water supplies in the area. Sampling is carried out to assess the chemical and microbiological quality of the water.

In East Lothian, there are what's known as 7 type A and 36 type B supplies. If you have any questions or would like to know more information about private water supplies you can visit the Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland webpages.

Private water supplies – Water scarcity (posted 12 May 2020)

Following below average rainfall over the winter and spring months in East Lothian there will be increasing pressure on water supplies this summer with forecast rain not expected to replenish supplies sufficiently.

East Lothian Council and Scottish Water are preparing to provide support to properties which experience water shortages and are encouraging everyone to use water wisely. 

Private water supply users are being encouraged to:

  • ensure your supply is secure, with no leaks
  • consider moving livestock to an alternative supply
  • take timed showers as opposed to baths
  • ensure washing machine and dishwasher are fully loaded
  • harvest rainwater for gardening use
  • contact neighbours, from a safe distance, to discuss your contingency plan

If your supply is close to running dry or has run dry, please contact us on 01620827365 or email ehts@eastlothian.gov.uk


We are the monitoring authority for all private water supplies within East Lothian. It is responsible for registering and classifying all private water supplies used, or to be used, in its area as a type A or a Type B supply.

A private water supply is, any supply of water, which is not provided by Scottish Water.

Type A supply means a private water supply for human consumption purposes which:

  • on average, provides 10 or more cubic metres of water per day or serves 50 or more persons, or
  • regardless of the volume of water provided or the number of persons served, is supplied or used as part of a commercial or public activity

Type B supply means a private water supply for human consumption purposes which:

  • provides the supply
  • occupy the land from, or on which, the supply is obtained or located
  • exercise powers of management or control in relation to the supply.

Grant applications for private water supply

Applications can be made by:

  • owner occupiers
  • landlords
  • tenants

Grants of up to £800 per property are available and in some circumstances additional funding may also be available.

We cannot issue grants for works which have already started or been completed.

When the application form has been completed, the form should be forwarded to Food and Safety Manager, East Lothian Council, John Muir House, Haddington, EH41 3HA.

Download a private water supply grant application