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Water Industry Act 1991

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General obligations of undertakers [F1and licensed water suppliers]E+W

Textual Amendments

F1Words in cross-heading inserted (1.12.2005) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 101(1), 105(3), Sch. 8 para. 18(8); S.I. 2005/2714, art. 3(c) (with Sch. para. 8)

68 Duties of water undertakers [F2and licensed water suppliers] with respect to water quality.E+W

(1)It shall be the duty of a water undertaker [F3where its supply system is used for the purpose of supplying water to any premises for domestic or food production purposes]

(a)[F4to ensure that any water so supplied] is wholesome at the time of supply; and

(b)so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure, in relation to each source or combination of sources from which [F5water is so supplied] , that there is, in general, no deterioration in the quality of the water which is supplied from time to time from that source or combination of sources.

[F6and this section and section 69 below apply, in relation to the duty of an undertaker, whether or not the water supplied using the undertaker’s supply system is supplied by the undertaker.]

[F7(1A)It shall be the duty of a licensed water supplier—

(a)when supplying water to any premises for domestic or food production purposes, in accordance with its retail authorisation, to ensure that the water is wholesome at the time of supply; and

(b)so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure, in relation to each source or combination of sources from which that supplier supplies water to premises for domestic or food production purposes, in accordance with its retail authorisation, that there is, in general, no deterioration in the quality of the water which is supplied from time to time from that source or combination of sources,

and references in this subsection to the retail authorisation shall be construed in accordance with section 17A(2) above.]

(2)For the purposes of this section and section 69 below and subject to subsection (3) below, [F8where a water undertaker’s supply system is used for the purpose of supplying water to any premises, any water so supplied] to any premises shall not be regarded as unwholesome at the time of supply where it has ceased to be wholesome only after leaving the undertaker’s pipes.

(3)For the purposes of [F9subsection (1) above where a water undertaker’s supply system is used for the purpose of supplying water to any premises, and the water so supplied] would not otherwise be regarded as unwholesome at the time of supply, that water shall be regarded as unwholesome at that time if—

(a)it has ceased to be wholesome after leaving the undertaker’s pipes but while in a pipe which is subject to water pressure from a water main or which would be so subject but for the closing of some valve; and

(b)it has so ceased in consequence of the failure of the undertaker, before [F10the water is supplied, to ensure that such steps are taken] as may be prescribed for the purpose of securing the elimination, or reduction to a minimum, of any prescribed risk that the water would cease to be wholesome after leaving the undertaker’s pipes.

[F11(3A)For the purposes of subsection (1A) above where water supplied by a licensed water supplier to any premises would not otherwise be regarded as unwholesome at the time of supply, that water shall be regarded as unwholesome at that time if—

(a)it has ceased to be wholesome after leaving the relevant pipes but while in a pipe which is subject to water pressure from a water main or which would be so subject but for the closing of some valve; and

(b)it has so ceased in consequence of the failure of the supplier, before supplying the water, to ensure that such steps are taken as may be prescribed for the purpose of securing the elimination, or reduction to a minimum, of any prescribed risk that the water would cease to be wholesome after leaving the relevant pipes.

(3B)In subsection (3A) above “relevant pipes” means the pipes of the water undertaker whose supply system is used for the purpose of the supply made by the licensed water supplier.]

(4)The provisions of this section shall apply in relation to water which is supplied by a water undertaker whether or not the water is water which the undertaker is required to supply by virtue of any provision of this Act.

(5)The duties of a water undertaker [F12and licensed water supplier] under this section shall be enforceable under section 18 above by the Secretary of State.

Textual Amendments

69 Regulations for preserving water quality.E+W

(1)The Secretary of State may by regulations require a water undertaker [F13or a licensed water supplier to ensure that such steps are taken] as may be prescribed for the purpose of securing compliance with section 68 above.

(2)Without prejudice to the generality of the power conferred by subsection (1) above, regulations under that subsection may impose an obligation on a water undertaker [F14or licensed water supplier]

(a)to [F15ensure that all such steps are taken] as may be prescribed for monitoring and recording whether the water [F16used for relevant supplies] to premises for domestic or food production purposes is wholesome at the time of supply;

(b)to [F17ensure that all such steps are taken] as may be prescribed for monitoring and recording the quality of the water from any source, or combination of sources, which [F18is used or is proposed to be used for making relevant supplies] to any premises for domestic or food production purposes;

(c)to ensure that a source which [F19is used or proposed to be used for making relevant supplies] for domestic or food production purposes is not so used until prescribed requirements for establishing the quality of water which may be supplied from that source have been complied with;

(d)to [F20ensure that records are kept] of the localities within which all the premises [F21receiving relevant supplies] for domestic or food production purposes F22. . . are normally supplied from the same source or combination of sources;

(e)to [F23ensure that prescribed requirements are complied with] with respect to the analysis of water samples or with respect to internal reporting or organisational arrangements.

(3)Without prejudice to subsections (1) and (2) above, the Secretary of State may by regulations make provision [F24imposing obligations on water undertakers or licensed water suppliers with respect to the use for the purposes of or in connection with making relevant supplies]

(a)of such processes and substances; and

(b)of products that contain or are made with such substances or materials,

as he considers might affect the quality of any water.

(4)Without prejudice to the generality of the power conferrred by subsection (3) above, regulations under that subsection may—

(a)[F25require water undertakers or licensed water suppliers to ensure that] processes, substances and products which have not been approved under the regulations or which contravene the regulations [F26are not used for the purposes of or in connection with relevant supplies];

(b)for the purposes of provision made by virtue of paragraph (a) above, require [F27water undertakers and licensed water suppliers to ensure that] processes, substances and products used [F28for the purposes of or in connection with relevant supplies] conform to such standards as may be prescribed by or approved under the regulations;

(c)impose such other requirements as may be prescribed with respect to the use [F29for the purposes of or in connection with relevant supplies] of prescribed processes, substances and products;

(d)provide for the giving, refusal and revocation, by prescribed persons, of approvals required for the purposes of the regulations, for such approvals to be capable of being made subject to such conditions as may be prescribed and for the modification and revocation of any such condition;

(e)impose obligations to furnish prescribed persons with information reasonably required by those persons for the purpose of carrying out functions under the regulations;

(f)provide for a contravention of the regulations to constitute—

(i)a summary offence punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or such smaller sum as may be prescribed; or

(ii)an offence triable either way and punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum and, on conviction on indictment, by a fine;

and

(g)require prescribed charges to be paid to persons carrying out functions under the regulations.

(5)The Secretary of State may by regulations F30. . . —

(a)[F31require a water undertaker]to publish information about the quality of water supplied for domestic or food production purposes to any premises [F32using that undertaker’s supply system]; F33. . .

[F34(aa)require a licensed water supplier to publish information about the quality of water supplied for domestic or food production purposes to any premises by that supplier]

(b)[F35require any such undertaker or supplier]to provide information to prescribed persons about the quality of water [F36supplied as referred to in paragraph (a) or (aa) above (as the case may be)].

(6)Regulations under subsection (5) above—

(a)shall prescribe both the information which is to be published or provided in pursuance of the regulations and the manner and circumstances in which it is to be published or provided;

(b)may require the provision of information by a water undertaker [F37or licensed water supplier] to any person to be free of charge or may authorise it to be subject to the payment by that person to the undertaker [F38or supplier] of a prescribed charge; and

(c)may impose such other conditions on the provision of information by a water undertaker [F39or licensed water supplier] to any person as may be prescribed.

[F40(7)In this section, “relevant supplies” means—

(a)in the case of an obligation imposed on a water undertaker, supplies of water—

(i)made by the undertaker in carrying out its functions; or

(ii)made by a licensed water supplier using the undertaker’s supply system; and

(b)in the case of an obligation imposed on a licensed water supplier, supplies of water made by that supplier using a water undertaker’s supply system.]

Textual Amendments

F22Words in s. 69(2)(d) omitted (1.4.2004) by virtue of and repealed (prosp.) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 101(1)(2), 105(3), Sch. 8 para. 19(3)(e)(iii), Sch. 9 Pt. 3; S.I. 2004/641, art. 3(y), Sch. 2

F30Words in s. 69(5) omitted (1.4.2004) by virtue of and repealed (prosp.) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 101(1)(2), 105(3), Sch. 8 para. 19(6)(a), Sch. 9 Pt. 3; S.I. 2004/641, art. 3(y), Sch. 2

F31Words in s. 69(5)(a) inserted (1.4.2004) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 101(1), 105(3), {Sch. 8 para. 19(6)(b)(i))}; S.I. 2004/641, art. 3(y), Sch. 2

F33Words in s. 69(5)(a) omitted (1.4.2004) by virtue of and repealed (prosp.) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 101(1)(2), 105(3), Sch. 8 para. 19(6)(c), Sch. 9 Pt. 3; S.I. 2004/641, art. 3(y), Sch. 2

70 Offence of supplying water unfit for human consumption.E+W

(1)Subject to subsection (3) below, where a [F41water undertaker’s supply system is used for the purposes of supplying water] to any premises and that water is unfit for human consumption, [F42the relevant persons] shall be guilty of an offence and liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding [F43£20,000] ;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine.

[F44(1A)For the purposes of subsection (1) above, the relevant persons are—

(a)the water undertaker whose supply system is used for the purposes of supplying the water (in this section referred to as the “primary water undertaker”); and

(b)any employer of persons, or any self-employed person, who is concerned in the supply of the water.]

(2)For the purposes of section 210 below and any other enactment under which an individual is guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1) above the penalty on conviction on indictment of an offence under this section shall be deemed to include imprisonment (in addition to or instead of a fine) for a term not exceeding two years.

(3)In any proceedings against any [F45relevant person] for an offence under this section it shall be a defence for [F46that person] to show that it—

(a)had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the water would be used for human consumption; or

(b)took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence for securing that the water was fit for human consumption on leaving [F47the primary water undertaker's] pipes or was not used for human consumption.

[F48(3A)For the purposes of paragraph (b) of subsection (3) above—

(a)in the case of proceedings against a primary water undertaker, showing that the undertaker took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence as mentioned in that paragraph includes (among other things) showing that the relevant arrangements were reasonable in all the circumstances; and

(b)in the case of proceedings against any other relevant person, showing that the person took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence as mentioned in that paragraph includes (among other things) showing that it took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence for securing that all aspects of the relevant arrangements for which it was responsible were properly carried out.

(3B)In subsection (3A) above, “relevant arrangements” means arrangements made by the primary water undertaker to ensure that all other relevant persons were required to take all reasonable steps and exercise all due diligence for securing that the water was fit for human consumption on leaving the undertaker’s pipes or was not used for human consumption.]

(4)Proceedings for an offence under this section shall not be instituted except by the Secretary of State or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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