Drinking Water Protected Areas Safeguard Zones

Understanding the Drinking Water Protected Areas Safeguard Zones maps and data

 

Go to the Drinking Water Protected Areas Safeguard Zones map

 

What are drinking water safeguard zones?

Drinking water safeguard zones are designated areas in which the use of certain substances must be carefully managed to prevent th pollution of raw water sources that are used to provide drinking water. 

 

Water is a vital natural resource. In order to provide water for people to drink we must take (or abstract) raw water from reservoirs, rivers and the ground (known as groundwater), these are referred to a Drinking Water Protected Areas (DrWPAs) within the Water Framework Directive. Where necessary this raw water is treated to purify it for us to drink.

In order to protect our water we want to ensure that we are not polluting it with additional substances leading to the need for more treatment. To do this we identify Safeguard Zones for any raw water sources that are ‘at risk’ of deterioration which would result in the need for additional treatment. These zones are areas where the land use is causing pollution of the raw water. Action is targeted in these zones to address pollution so that extra treatment of raw water can be avoided.

Note: although there may be a risk of needing increased purification treatment there is no risk to our tap water. Tap water supplied by water companies in England and Wales is robustly regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) to ensure it meets the required drinking water quality standard.

 

Safeguard Zones are a joint initiative between us, the Environment Agency, and water companies.

Safeguard Zones are one of the main tools for delivering the drinking water protection objectives of the Water Framework Directive.

For further information please see Annex D of our River Basin Management Plans.

 

Key

The map shows Drinking Water Safeguard Zones in order to protect the location of drinking water abstractions.

Surface Waters


 Safeguard Zones

Catchment areas upstream of ‘at risk’ DrWPAs that influence the water quality in the DrWPA are being delineated by the EA and water companies.

The ‘at risk’ DrWPAs and the zones are where action to address water contamination will be targeted, so that extra treatment by water companies can be avoided.

All safeguard zones have yet to be delineated, or those that have may be subject to refinement. Please contact your regional office for more information.

 

When you click on a Surface Water Safeguard Zone, the following information will be displayed:

  • the reference number of that Safeguard Zone
  • the details of why this area has been designated as a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone – i.e. what substances may affect the raw water
  • the local contact details if you would like to speak to someone about the Drinking Water Safeguard Zone.

Groundwater


  Safeguard Zones

For ‘at risk’ DrWPAs we may establish Safeguard Zones. These non-statutory Safeguard Zones are areas where activities can impact adversely on the quality of water abstracted in the DrWPA. Action to address pollution is targeted in these zones so that extra treatment of raw water can be avoided. Safeguard Zones are a joint initiative between the Environment Agency and water companies. Safeguard Zones are one of the main tools for delivering the Drinking Water Protected Area objectives of the Water Framework Directive.

 

When you click on a Groundwater Safeguard Zone, the following information will be displayed:the reference number of the DrWPA;

  • the reference number of theat Safeguard Zone
  • the details of why this area has been designated as a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone – i.e. what substances may affect the raw water
  • the local contact details if you would like to speak to someone about the Drinking Water Safeguard Zone.

 

What do I do if I live or work in a safeguard zone?

If you live or work within a Safeguard Zone then it is importanrt that you take care when using any substances that are listed as 'at risk' on the Safeguard Zone maps, as their use could cause pollution of the raw water which may result in the need for additional and costly treatment to ensure it is safe for drinking,

If you do use any of these substances then you can obtain additional information about the most effective way to use them, or any alternatives from ourselve or your local water authority.

Additional advice and information about using pesticides is available from the Voluntary Initiative.  

 

What if I do not live or work in a safeguard zone?

If you are not living or working in a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone you must still follow good practice to ensure your activities do not pollute water, as there are many drinking water supply sites in water catchments that are not classified as Drinking Water Safeguard Zones.