How to manage private water supplies

If you have a commercial or community facility that uses a private water supply you must make sure the water is safe for human consumption.

This includes water used for:

  • drinking
  • commercial preparation or processing of food.

You can find out more about your responsibilities below.

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A private water supply includes water from any of the following:

  • rivers and creeks
  • bores
  • dams
  • rainwater tanks.

Facilities that use a private water supply may include:

  • commercial visitor accommodation
  • caravan parks
  • camping grounds
  • home based businesses including markets and mobile food vehicles
  • petrol stations
  • roadhouses
  • community halls
  • conference centres
  • recreational and sporting facilities
  • schools
  • food businesses
  • marinas
  • mines and worksites
  • privately owned subdivisions managed by a body corporate.

What is excluded

These guidelines don't cover:

  • individual household supplies
  • supplies provided by water authorities such as town water.

Get guidance on rainwater tanks or bores.

You can find more information about water supply services on the Power and Water website.

Keeping your water supply safe involves:

  • planning how to respond to problems in the water supply system
  • understanding hazards to your water sources
  • water treatment to remove or control any contamination
  • monitoring and checking the quality of the water and the integrity of the water system
  • public warnings for treated and untreated systems.

To get help with meeting your water safety responsibilities you should read the below guidelines.

Guidelines for private water supplies PDF (584.7 KB)
Guidelines for private water supplies DOCX (538.6 KB)

Find out more about testing your private water supply.

Develop a plan

All private water supply operators should have a water supply management plan (WSMP).

You can use the below template for your plan.

WSMP template PDF (180.8 KB)
WSMP template DOCX (88.1 KB)

The WSMP should set out how you will do all of the following:

  • assess and protect the quality of the source water
  • make sure treatment processes are appropriate, maintained and working properly
  • regularly test to assess water quality
  • make the water supply safe if contamination has occurred
  • ensure consumers are warned and/or provided with safe drinking water (such as by using boiled or commercially bottled water) if the normal supply is found to be unsatisfactory or quality cannot be guaranteed.

Your WSMP should be kept in a central place that is easily accessible to your staff.

For more information about managing private water supplies you can contact Environment Health by calling 08 8922 7152 or emailing envirohealth@nt.gov.au.

Find out more about Environmental Health on the Department of Health website.

Last updated: 09 September 2019

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