Department of Health

Key messages

  • Change to the notification requirements of water transport vehicles
  • A water transport vehicle is a class 3 food premises, provided that the water is obtained from an approved supplier.
  • Private drinking water carters are required to register their business and water transport vehicles with their principal council via Streatrader.
  • Reading the Guidelines on safe potable water can help you keep the water you sell safe.

Private drinking water carters are private businesses that deliver water for sale to the public that is intended for:

  • human consumption
  • purposes connected with human consumption (such as preparation of food, making ice for consumption or preserving unpackaged food).

A water transport vehicle is a vehicle used by a private water carter:

  • from which water is sold or handled with the intention that it be sold
  • that is used to transport water that is intended for
    • human consumption
    • purposes connected with human consumption, whether or not the water is used for other purposes once it is delivered.

Private drinking water carter requirements

On 28 July 2022, water carters became exempt from having to notify local councils via a Statement of Trade (SOT) on Streatrader of their intention to trade in a given municipality. Water carters now need only register their business with their principle council via Streatrader

Under a statewide registration scheme, which covers water carter suppliers, all private drinking water carter businesses must:

  • register their water transport vehicle with the council in whose district the water transport vehicle is garaged – that is, the principal council

Water carters must register with their principal council, this is done via Streatrader.

Your principal council will consider the information in your application. It will advise you when you are registered, or if there are any further steps that you must take to obtain registration.

Single council registration

Regardless of how many council districts you operate in, a single registration will apply throughout the state. This means that your water transport business can operate anywhere in Victoria during your 12-month registration period with your registering council.

One registration certificate can have multiple premises and multiple vehicles on it. If you operate more than one vehicle, apply to the council where the majority of your vehicles are garaged. Include all vehicles in the same registration application.

You can add or remove premises or vehicles at any time via your Streatrader account.

You will need to pay one annual registration fee, which is set by your principal council.

Registration and why

The main purpose of the Food Act 1984 is to protect people from food-borne illness by controlling the sale of food in Victoria. The Food Act 1984 has, for a long time, required water carters to ensure that the water that they deliver and is sold for human consumption is safe to drink.

Under the Act, ‘food’ includes water that is sold for human consumption or is used in the preparation of food.

The statewide registration system provides a way for this to be enforced through local government.

A significant number of Victorians in rural communities are not connected to a reticulated water supply and rely on water tanks for their drinking water.

Occasionally, concerns about the safety and quality of water delivered by water carters are raised. These concerns include whether the water has been contaminated and whether it has been collected from an appropriate source.

This registration, together with the requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (Vic.) that apply to water corporations, is intended to ensure that steps are in place throughout the supply chain to give all Victorians access to a safe water supply.

These regulations bring water transport businesses into line with businesses conducting food or beverage handling activities that carry similar risks to human health.

Reviewed 26 June 2023


Contact details

Food Safety Unit

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