Tap water standard at all-time high in England and Wales

The European water watchdog, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, recently announced annual figures showing that the standard of tap water in England and Wales is at an all-time high.


July 15, 2003 -- The European water watchdog, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, recently announced annual figures showing that the standard of tap water in England and Wales is at an all-time high.

The Inspectorate's 13th annual report, published recently, reveals that 99.87% of more than 2.9 million tests carried out in 2002 met all the national and EU standards, continuing the year-on-year improvements since the Inspectorate was formed in 1990. In 2002, the number of tests failing to meet the drinking water standards was just 3,741, compared to nearly 37,000 ten years ago.

DWI's new Chief Inspector, Jeni Colbourne said:

"Thanks to a system of rigorous enforcement by our inspectors and investment by water companies, the quality of drinking water in England and Wales is the best it has ever been. We have one of the strictest drinking water safety regimes in the world, and the tens of millions of people who drink tap water every day are reaping the benefits.

"Water is vital to health and recent research has highlighted the problems caused by dehydration, especially among children. Fresh water is on-tap each minute of the day and is tremendous value for money.

"It is great news that the regulatory results confirm the excellent quality of our drinking water quality, but this technical success is not enough. We need to understand more about consumers' perceptions of tap water and why these are not always positive. We know from research that most people take tap water for granted, implying safety is a given and trust is high but we also know that some consumers expect more than the current standards provide.

"During 2003, water regulators, including the Inspectorate, are seeking consumers' opinions on water services in a bid to improve customer satisfaction. Key concerns are the way that water looks, smells and tastes as it comes out of the tap and I want to actively promote "customer satisfaction" as a key quality target for the future."

Leaflets on drinking water quality are available free of charge from DWI or may be viewed on the website at www.dwi.gov.uk

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