Key messages

  • 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. Then water carters need to lodge one Statement of Trade per year to each council whose municipality they plan to be trading in.
  • 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

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
  • once registered, submit one Statement of Trade (SOT) per year to each council whose municipality they plan to be trading in.
  • once registered, keep records about which water corporations drinking water is purchased from.

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.

Once your registration is granted by the principal council, you can use Streatrader to manage your registration, including submitting SOTs and other records.

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.

Statements of Trade

After your principal council issues your registration certification, and at least 5 days before operating in any locality, you must lodge a SOT with your principal council via Streatrader. You must also lodge one to each council in which you will be trading. SOTs need to be submitted on Streatrader, and are available on your Streatrader account to be filled out once you are registered.

Once registered, you risk a fine if you fail to lodge a SOT at least 5 days before operating in a council district.

SOT requirements for water carters differ to that of other mobile food premises. Water carters only need to specify which councils they intend to be trading in, and do not need to provide specific dates or addresses. These SOTs therefore last for the entire registration period of the business.

Water carters only use SOTs to notify councils that they will be in their area. Councils cannot reject your SOT, unless the information on the SOT needs to be altered.

Since water carters may be called at short notice by customers who need water urgently, you may wish to complete a SOT for all council districts in which you anticipate delivering water in the 12-month period.

Record-keeping requirements

Once your water transport vehicle is registered, you will be required to keep records relating to:

  • the name of the water corporation from which you purchase water to be sold for human consumption
  • the address and telephone number of this water corporation
  • dockets or invoices received from this water corporation.

This is to ensure that councils can clarify where you obtained the water you sell to the public for human consumption.

These records must be kept for 12 months.

Your principal council can advise you further about this when you apply for registration.

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 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.

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