National Water Hygiene Scheme: Guidance during COVID-19 pandemic

With the full impact of the Coronavirus still unknown, Energy & Utility Skills are working across its water industry partners.

Energy & Utility Skills Register (EUSR) announces communications on the National Water Hygiene Scheme.

The UK water industry has set out clearly that hygiene is the highest priority for the health of individuals and the public, and this does not reduce during this time but becomes more important. There must be no reduction in competence or compliance across the duration of this pandemic.

A valid EUSR National Water Hygiene registration is mandated by all water companies across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England in cooperation with the UK drinking water regulators. It remains a mandatory requirement for all individuals working on the public water supply within Restricted Operations.

As part of their operational delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, water companies need to have a more flexible direct and indirectly employed workforce working across their water assets. It is therefore more important than ever that anyone working within Restricted Operations is properly trained and assessed to observe best practice on site and maintain the high standards expected by every company and the UK’s drinking water quality regulators.

Water companies are working directly with their own supply chain partners, while Energy & Utility Skills are collaborating with British Water and the Future Water Association to ensure that the mandate and the latest information is communicated.

Given the closure of many training centres and the need for social distancing, temporary measures have been introduced to increase flexibility while still maintaining the high standards required.  These measures will be reviewed on a regular basis, by Energy & Utility Skills.

Things you need to know about these temporary measures:

  • The National Water Hygiene Scheme continues to apply as a mandated requirement and a valid registration must be maintained.

  • It is vital that every person on site maintains the highest possible standards of hygiene, and no reduction in competence or compliance occurs.

  • With EUSR ID cards (‘Blue cards’) being delivered to offices and so many offices now closed, there will be delays in cards getting to individuals.  Energy & Utility Skills is therefore encouraging all companies and individuals to use EUSR, the online register ( to check National Water Hygiene registrations for the period of the pandemic.

Should you have any questions, please contact the EUSR Support, Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.00pm, email or call us on 0121 745 1310 (option 1). 

“The public reliance on safe and high-quality tap water has rarely ever been as great as we are seeing, as the UK stays at home to tackle this pandemic. The quality, inexpensive nature and ‘to the tap’ delivery is underpinning our public health and society. The water companies and regulators are crystal clear that efforts will only accelerate to protect the public trust in its tap water and to ensure that there are no incidents. Everyone involved in restricted operations, from catchment to tap, must take every step possible to play their part and deliver best hygiene practice. We and our partners are committed to that aim.”

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive, Energy & Utility Skills

“Every day in the UK around 16 billion litres of high-quality tap water is delivered directly to our homes, hospitals, businesses and communities. The role of the supply chain workforce in helping water companies to deliver that essential service safely and to the highest of hygiene standards is often unseen but is pivotal. The Future Water Association has partnered with Energy & Utility Skills to help our members to be fully aware of their responsibilities to have a valid and current National Water Hygiene Scheme ‘Blue Card’ and how to access the required training, renewal information and advice it under the current pandemic restrictions. The Blue Card is a mandated requirement across all water company restricted operation sites and assets, and this partnership to ensure the highest standards of supply chain hygiene practice around the public water supply, could not be more important.”

Paul Horton, Chief Executive, Future Water Association

“The supply chain workforce is active on water company sites and assets across the UK, assisting the delivery of safe and high-quality tap water to millions of homes across our communities. Maintaining the highest levels of safety procedures and hygiene practice is vital, and British Water is working in partnership with Energy & Utility Skills to promote best practice and help ensure that every supply chain worker knows their responsibilities when working within restricted operations, and has a current and valid National Water Hygiene Scheme card. This is often known as the ‘Blue Card’.  Our partnership will help ensure, throughout the lock down period, that access to the mandated Blue Card training is maintained, and that there is a heightened focus on everyone acting together to protect the quality of our vital public water supply.”

Lila Thompson, Chief Executive, British Water

“Hygiene at the moment is the highest priority for the health of individuals and the public and this does not reduce during this time but arguably becomes more important”.

Marcus Rink, Chief Inspector, Drinking Water Inspectorate.