Tapping into temporary events

Amended July 2024

With lots of festivals and events happening at this time of year it’s important to know how to comply with UK regulatory requirements associated with temporary installations as these are often not fully appreciated. In this article, Affinity Water shares some of their experience in safeguarding supplies at a large event in their supply area and sign post other helpful information available for those organising temporary events.

At one of the largest events in Affinity Water’s supply area this year over 170,000 people were expected to attend a large country show which included a large number of campers, and a vast range of activities including shopping stalls and food & drink eateries. All these activities had potential to create a risk to both the organisers’ private supply and the public water supply if not managed correctly.

Affinity Water worked with the event organiser’s Safety Advisory Team since March this year, setting the scene early and having face to face engagement with key contacts. This definitely made planning easier. Several visits to site were made, drawings reviewed and the outline design discussed and agreed in principle.This work included water supply, distribution and infrastructure arrangements for example, the location and description of source water, pipework and any use of tankers. Discussions involved the relevant Environmental Health Officers from the local authority and groundwork technicians.

Where there were risks of contamination or insufficiency of the water supply these were mitigated by suitable control measures to ensure the safety and well-being of participants attending the event. By its very nature the fluid risk category required comprehensive backflow prevention including whole site protection. As with all sites connected to public supplies, Regulation 4 approved products were required. A water management plan was produced, describing water supply arrangements, monitoring and sampling and analysis. There was also a process for ongoing inspection and the actions that must be taken in response to any contraventions found. Final inspection was made seven days prior to the event.

To provide assurance of the plan and to aid with the risk assessment, reference was made to the free guidance given in ‘Guidelines for the Provision of Temporary Drinking Water Supplies at Events’ (published by the Water Health Partnership for Wales - click for more information) and the following legislation and standards:

In England and Wales the Private Water Supplies Regulations* apply. This legislation is intended to ensure events provide a wholesome and sufficient water supply and is enforced by the relevant local authority. A supply of mains water obtained from a water company laid as a temporary supply for events is a Private Distribution System under these regulations. In these situations the fittings and facilities on site and the way they are installed are also subject to, and must comply with, the requirements of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.

A similar approach is taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland, albeit that different arrangements and legislation exist.

British Standard BS8551:2015 Provision & Management of Temporary Water Supplies and Distribution Networks – Code of Practice. This standard gives guidance on the provision of temporary water supplies and wholesomeness of the water supplied to construction sites as well as festivals and events where it is the responsibility of site managers and event organisers to ensure a safe and wholesome drinking water supply is available.

✔     If you are running an event when you are making contact with your local authority make sure you notify your local water company in plenty of time as well.

Early notification not only helps ensure your event can go ahead as you planned and does not get delayed. It will also provide reassurance that it has met all of the necessary standards.
More information can be found on the WRAS (now Water Regs UK) website on notification and water company contacts.


*The Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations 2016
 The Private Water Supplies (Wales) Regulations 2010

- Autumn 2017

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