Drinking Water Quality

The EPA Drinking Water Report for Public Water Supplies 2016 provides an overview of drinking water quality in Ireland for 2016, based on monitoring data from Irish Water, and the regulation of public supplies by the EPA.

The EPA Focus on Private Water Supplies 2015 report provides an overview of both the quality and enforcement of private drinking water supplies in Ireland for 2015, based on monitoring and enforcement data from 28 local authorities. The Focus on Private Water Supplies 2016 report will be published later in 2017.

Quality of Supplies

The quality of public water supplies in Ireland is determined by comparing the results of over 140,000 monitoring test results against the limits set out in the Regulations.

The key findings for 2016 are:

  •  E.coli compliance in Public Water Supplies continues to improve. Since 2007, there has been a 94% reduction in the number of public water supplies reporting E.coli exceedances. E.coli was detected at least once in 3 supplies, down 4 on 2015.
  • 4,000 fewer people were on boil notices at the end of 2016, compared to the end of 2015.
  • There were 59 supplies affected by trihalomethanes failures, the same as in 2014 and 2015. 
  • 41 Boil Notices and 10 Water Restriction Notices were in place during 2016, affecting 84,348 people.

Priority Actions

The EPA has identified the most important issues which should be addressed on a national level to protect and improve public drinking water supplies. Recommendations have been made by the EPA to Irish Water to address these issues.

Priority IssuesRequired Actions
Keeping water free of harmful bugs (Disinfection) Eliminate long-term Boil Water Notices by providing robust disinfection systems.
Minimising harmful disinfection by-products (Trihalomethanes) Put in place treatment that adequately removes pre-cursors which lead to harmful by-products.
Eliminating lead from our networks Assess public buildings for lead pipes and fittings; encourage increased replacement of private side lead pipework; and replace all public side lead pipework.
Preventing pesticides from entering our waters Protect drinking water sources and abstraction points and promote responsible use of pesticides. 
Managing risks to our public water supplies  Progress and complete Drinking Water Safety Plans.
Ensuring all water treatment plants are effective Progress action programmes for all Remedial Action List schemes.

Owners of private wells should ensure that they are designed, located, installed and maintained properly. Wells should be tested regularly, particularly after a prolonged period of heavy rainfall, since this is when the well may be overwhelmed and contaminated.

Find out more

Find drinking water quality results in your water supply zone on Irish Water's website

Download drinking water data