Report No DWI0766

THE POSSIBLE ADOPTION OF A DIRECT FEED SUPPLY TO DOMESTIC PROPERTIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM (TMU 9008)

Final report to the Department of the Environment

DWI0766

AUG 1992

SUMMARY

The current method of water supply in the United Kingdom employs storage within domestic property boundaries. This method of supply is unique in Europe. The majority of properties in continental Europe are served by a direct feed method.

The reasons given for the adopted UK water supply method are:

    1. Domestic storage gives provision against supply interruptions.
    2. A storage cistern gives an air gap which protects against backflow.
    3. Storage reduces peak demands in water supply.
    4. Storage reduces the strain on domestic plumbing.

The main reason offered for the conversion to a direct feed method of supply, as favoured in continental Europe, is that this method reduces the risk of microbiological contamination of water supplies.

It is assessed in this report that domestic storage is significant only in the provision against supply interruption. This advantage of the current UK supply system should be weighed against the consideration of microbiological safety when determining a preferred method of supply.

Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Pre 2000 Reports' heading on the DWI website.