Private drinking water carters are private businesses that deliver water for sale to the public that is intended for human consumption, or purposes connected with human consumption (such as making ice or food preparation).
A water transport vehicle is the vehicle from which the water is sold or handled with the intention of being sold. They must be registered with council under the Victorian Food Act 1984 (Food Act).
Private drinking water carter requirements
All private drinking water carter businesses must use FoodTrader to register their water transport vehicle with the local council where the water transport vehicle is garaged.
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 the 12-month registration period allocated by your registering council.
A single registration certificate can include multiple premises and multiple vehicles on it. If you operate more than one vehicle, you should apply for registration to the council where the majority of your vehicles are garaged and include all vehicles in the same registration application.
You will need to pay one annual registration fee, which will be set by your registering council.
You can add or remove premises or vehicles at any time using your FoodTrader account.
As of August 2022, there is no longer a requirement for private drinking water carter businesses to lodge a Statement of Trade on FoodTrader. This is due to the nature of how these businesses operate, which is often by private booking.
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.
When you apply for registration, your registering council will advise you further about record keeping requirements.
Requirement for registration
The main purpose of the Food Act is to protect people from food-borne illness by setting rules in relation to the sale of food in Victoria.
Under the Food Act, ‘food’ includes water that is sold for human consumption or is used in the preparation of food. The Food Act therefore requires water carters to ensure that the water that they deliver and sell for human consumption is safe to drink.
The statewide single registration scheme 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/or quality of the 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.
Registration under the Food Act, together with the requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (Vic.) that apply to water corporations, is intended to ensure that checks exist throughout the supply chain to provide all Victorians access to a safe water supply.
These regulations bring water transport businesses into line with businesses conducting food or beverage handling activities which carry similar risks to human health.
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