21 May 2024


Following extensive national media coverage regarding the quality and safety of drinking water in the last week, Head of Water Quality, Rose Wilkinson, explains how we make sure our drinking water is kept in tip top shape at Anglian Water, and the steps we can all take at home to Keep Water Healthy. 

It’s something we all take for granted, being able to turn on the tap and having access to fresh clean drinking water. Above the fact it’s readily available for us to make a cup of tea, wash the dishes, or go for a quick shower, we trust that above all else, that it’s safe to drink. 

South West Water has been dealing with a very specific issue, following an outbreak of Cryptosporidium in part of their water network that serves Brixham in Devon. While we can understand why this may cause widespread concern around the safety of drinking water, we can assure you that these issues are thankfully, very rare.  

As the region’s water company, we are fundamentally responsible for providing clean, wholesome drinking water to over four million customers. But this doesn’t happen by chance, which is why we've invested £100 million over the last five years, in drinking water quality alone. Our drinking water is among the best water on the planet and some of the most heavily regulated in terms of quality, by the Drinking Water Inspectorate

Before it gets to your tap, your drinking water is cleaned, disinfected and tested. We carry out hundreds of thousands of tests every year on our treatment sites, across the water network and at customer taps too to make sure the water reaching our communities is of the highest standard.  

Chlorine is a very effective disinfectant, so we add a low level of chlorine to drinking water to remove harmful bacteria. However, as soon as the water comes into contact with air, the chlorine evaporates. This makes tap hygiene even more important for retaining high levels of water quality. 

We receive thousands of calls every year about water issues that have been caused inside people’s homes – all of which are easily fixed. 

The most common cause of water quality issues is in fact, poor tap hygiene.  The damp and humid conditions of a bathroom are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, like E.coli. What’s more, the bathroom tap is often the first thing people touch after they go to the toilet.  

So, it’s little surprise that the tap is the grimiest item in the bathroom. In the kitchen, there is a similar issue but this time, it’s often caused by washing raw meat in the sink and letting pets drink out of the tap, causing bacteria to grow in the tap head. Regularly disinfecting them with a bleach solution will keeps bugs at bay. 

Problems with taste and odour, can also be caused by poor plumbing, worn out washers and even cheap kettles. While they are unwanted, most of these problems are harmless. Several years ago, we launched our Keep Water Healthy campaign to make sure the water that comes out of our customer’s tap is every bit as good as when it was supplied. 

There can be more serious problems, often caused by poor plumbing, so the  most important thing to remember, is to use an approved plumber for any major plumbing work or complex jobs. We have an approved plumber list on our website but if customers are unsure whether their plumber is on the register, they can contact our customer care teams. 

We want to reassure our customers that the quality of our customers’ tap water is vitally important and if anyone has concerns or questions, at any time, they should contact us.