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Drinking Water

Drinking Water

Here you can find the EU and other legislation and guidance about drinking water.

  • EU legislation

    Council Directive 98/83/EC (OJ L 330, p32, 5.12.1998) (NO LONGER IN FORCE) of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption.

    Directive 2000/60/EC (OJ L 327, p1, 22.12.2000) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.

    Commission Recommendation 2001/928/Euratom (OJ L 344, p85, 28.12.2001) of 20 December 2001 on the protection of the public against exposure to radon in drinking water supplies.

  • National legislation
  • General provisions

    The basic standards governing the quality of drinking water intended for human consumption, whether in its original state or after treatment are set out in EU Directive 98/83/EC (NO LONGER IN FORCE).

    This legislation defines "water intended for human consumption" as:

    • all water, whether in its original state or after treatment, intended for drinking, cooking, food preparation or other domestic type purposes, regardless of its origin and whether it is supplied from a distribution network, from a private source or by tanker or similar means;
    • all water used in any food production undertaking for the manufacture, processing, preservation or marketing of products or substances intended for human consumption, unless the supervisory authority is satisfied that the quality of the water cannot affect the wholesomeness of the foodstuff in its finished form

    other than

    • natural mineral waters recognised as such by the responsible authorities, as defined in the Directive 2009/54/EC on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters
    • water supplied in bottles or containers
    • waters which are medicinal products within the meaning of Council Directive 2001/83/EC of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use
    • an exempted supply

    An exempted supply means a supply of water which:

    • (i) constitutes an individual supply of less than 10 cubic meters a day on average or serves fewer than 50 persons, and
      (ii) is not supplied as part of a commercial or public activity
    • is used exclusively for purposes in respect of which the relevant supervisory authority is satisfied that the quality of the water has not influence, either directly or indirectly, on the health of the consumers concerned.

    S.I. No. 122 of 2014 prescribes the quality standards to be applied, and related supervision and enforcement procedures in relation to supplies of drinking water, including requirements as to sampling frequency, methods of analysis, the provision of information to consumers and related matters.

  • Water quality and potable water

    The Environmental Protection Agency prepares and publishes annual reports on the results of the monitoring programmes carried out.

    Where the water quality does not meet the specified standards, remedial measures are outlined in S.I. No. 122 of 2014 for public and private water supplies.

    In EU food law, where there is a reference to potable water, it is usually defined as water which meets the standards of Directive 98/83/EC.

    Read our factsheet on Potable Water Quality for Food Businesses.