This policy sets out the actions that schools with a private drinking water supply must take to minimise potential health risks to students and staff.
- Schools with a private drinking water supply, including water from rainwater tanks, bores (groundwater) or carted water, are responsible for managing and maintaining their water supply to ensure it is safe to drink.
- Schools with a private drinking water supply must complete a private drinking water supply management plan (PDWSMP), and review their plan annually.
- These plans document the regular inspection and maintenance activities required to keep their water supply system safe. Schools must also ensure these activities are undertaken as planned.
- Schools must ensure system inspections, water quality testing results and maintenance activities are documented and recorded in the Asset Information Management System (AIMS), with records kept for at least 2 years. Schools who are not yet using AIMS should continue to keep local records until AIMS is available.
- Schools are encouraged to regularly review whether they can obtain water via mains reticulation, which is the safest drinking water option.
Access to safe and reliable drinking water is a requirement for health and wellbeing. Some Victorian schools are unable to access drinking water from a public mains supply. For these schools, a private drinking water supply sourced from rainwater tanks, bores (groundwater) or carted water is the only supply available.
Private drinking water sources can pose health risks to students and staff, particularly if they are not maintained or managed correctly. Schools that rely on private drinking water supplies are legally responsible for managing and maintaining their water supply to ensure it is safe to drink. Refer to the relevant legalisation section for more information.
The policy sets out the department’s compliance and monitoring process that applies to all key asset management activities, including management of private drinking water supplies. This policy sets out the department’s requirements for schools to manage private drinking water supplies in line with the 3 principal steps of the Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Compliance Policy: Identify, Manage and Monitor.
Schools must identify and document all components of the water supply system on the premises by creating a private drinking water supply management plan using the department’s template (available on the ). This plan also identifies all regular maintenance and inspection activities required to ensure the system remains operational and in good condition.
Schools are required to upload their completed private drinking water supply management plan into the AIMS school documents section, or retained in the school’s file records until AIMS is available.
To comply with the mandatory requirements for private drinking water management, schools must undertake regular inspection, maintenance, water testing and treatment activities documented in their private drinking water supply management plan and take action to rectify any faults or issues identified during regular inspection or use of the water system.
The private drinking water supply management plan must be reviewed annually by completing the corresponding work orders in AIMS.
Schools must ensure system inspections, water quality testing results and maintenance activities are documented and recorded in AIMS, with records kept for at least 2 years. Schools who are not yet using AIMS should continue to keep local records until AIMS is available.
Schools with a private drinking water supply are also required to develop a contingency plan for when the usual supply is unavailable or unfit for use.
Schools with a private drinking water supply are encouraged to check every 5 years, when updating their SMP, whether a connection with urban mains water may be feasible. Refer to the of the guidance for more information.
The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) monitors compliance with mandatory maintenance requirements (using AIMS where possible) and responds to non-compliance at a school and system level through direct support to schools or revision of policies and procedures.
The VSBA will monitor compliance with the mandatory private drinking water management requirements using the information and reports uploaded to AIMS.
If your school needs emergency drinking water (for example, due to a failed or contaminated private drinking water supply), back up water can be provided through the VSBA Make-Safe service provider by contacting .
Reporting and exclusion for gastroenteritis
If a gastro outbreak is suspected in your school, make an IRIS alert.
Students and staff suffering from gastroenteritis should be excluded from school until 48 hours after symptoms cease.
Reviewed 30 August 2022