Drinking Water Quality

Private Water Supply Responsibilities under NSW Public Health Legislation

On 1 October 2018 new provisions came into effect to clarify the mandatory requirements of all suppliers of drinking water in NSW. The Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012 require drinking water suppliers to: 

  • develop and comply with a quality assurance program as defined by the Regulation
  • keep records relating to your water supply
  •  provide a copy of the quality assurance program to the local Public Health Unit.

Requirements to ensure safe drinking water are legislated under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and Public Health Regulation 2012 (NSW). This requires drinking water suppliers to develop and adhere to a quality assurance program (or drinking water management system) from 1 September 2014.

Under the laws, these businesses are called ‘private water suppliers’. Throughout NSW there are many businesses that may rely on private water supplies. 

The sources of these supplies can include groundwater, surface water and rainwater. The Public Health Act and Regulation do not apply to water supplies sourced from bottled and pre-packaged water or water sourced from an entity such as a Council water utility. 

Businesses which supply water may also need to comply with other laws.  The supply of water ‘fit for human consumption’ (or potable water) is also a requirement of the Food Act 2003 and the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005. 

A quality assurance program assists businesses protect the health of their customers by identifying and managing risks to their drinking water supply. 

NSW Health has developed the NSW Private Water Supply Guidelines to assist businesses to meet the public health requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The attached Drinking Water Presentation will also provide schools with an overview of the changes.

Quality Assurance Program

A quality assurance program describes the drinking water supply, risks to water quality, and actions to be taken to protect the quality of the water provided to consumers.

To assist private water suppliers to meet their obligations, a template 'quality assurance program' is available through the NSW Health website.
Private Water Supply Quality Assurance Program (QAP) template 

Some example quality assurance programs are also available on the NSW Health website, modelled on real private water suppliers to help businesses in filling out their own quality assurance program.

Your quality assurance program should be kept in a place that is easily accessible to staff and a copy must be provided to your local Public Health Unit. The quality assurance program should be a living document, updated by you as required and used for record keeping. 

For more information please contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or visit NSW PHU Contacts.

Useful Links

  • Private Water Supply Guidelines
    These Guidelines will help private water suppliers to develop a quality assurance program as required by the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012