Private drinking water

Private drinking water supplies, such as rainwater or bore water, are generally reliable and safe for drinking, but water quality can be variable. Outbreaks of gastroenteritis have occurred in Victoria because of people drinking contaminated water.

You can minimise risks and keep your water supply system safe if you:

  • make sure your drinking water comes from a good-quality source

  • regularly maintain your water supply system

  • where required use the right treatment steps.

Rainwater use in and around the home

After mains water, rainwater is the next safest choice. However, rainwater can still become contaminated, so it is important that you know how to keep your private drinking supply safe.

Rainwater can be contaminated by a range of sources, including industrial pollutants, dust, leaves, pollen, pesticide sprays, fertilisers, debris, vermin, birds, small animals, and insects.

Rainwater tanks should be installed in a way that minimises the risk of contamination and should also be set up to keep mosquitoes out so as not to provide breeding sites.

Guidance on safe use of rainwater in and around the home includes:

Guidance on use of rainwater tanks on the Better Health Channel

Keeping-your-rainwater-tank-safe-from-mosquitos (Health Victoria PDF)

Commercial, community facilities and schools

All businesses, community facilities and schools which rely on a private water supply for drinking (potable) water must take all reasonable precautions to ensure the water is safe for human consumption.

Find out more about private drinking water supplies at commercial and community facilities.

The environmental health team can investigate concerns or incidents related to private drinking water supplies at certain premises. Please contact the team on 1300 656 564 or to report your concern.