Private water supplies after a flood
This information is for people with a private water supply, such as a rainwater tank or bore, who have been affected by a flood.
If your area has been affected by flooding, your private water source may be contaminated.
Flood water is likely to contain harmful microorganisms, dirt and chemicals. It is not safe to drink, cook or wash with water that has been affected by floods.
For more information, read about private water supply management.
Businesses that use a private water supply may have additional requirements. Read about private water supplies for food or accommodation businesses.
How to tell if your water is safe
If your private water source has been affected by flood, or if your system is damaged, you should consider the water unsafe to use.
If your water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not use it for drinking, washing or for pets.
Roof-collected rainwater stored in above-ground tanks, as well as water taken from deep bores with properly cased above-ground wellheads, should be safe to use as long as these are not damaged.
You should not take water from a river or creek that has been affected by floods. This water is likely to be contaminated.
If your water is from a well or other shallow groundwater source affected by floods, you should consider the water unsafe to use.
If your water is not safe
If your water is not safe to use, you should arrange an alternative supply, such as bottled water.
If affected by flood, you should not use your private water system until it has been made safe.
How to make your water supply safe
Check your tank for damage such as cracks and for dirt, dead birds or other small animals.
Remove dead birds or small animals from the gutters or within your tank. Disinfect your tank as set out in the guidelines for private water supplies.
If your system needs to be repaired or reconnected, you should hire a licensed plumber.
If you know or think that electrical equipment associated with your water system has been affected by floods, have a licensed electrician check it is safe to use.
Do not enter a water tank. Working in confined spaces is dangerous and should only be done by a professional.
Cleaning your tank
Once it is safe to empty the tank, the inside should be cleaned and sanitised.
Plumbing, guttering, downpipes and roofs connected to the tank affected by flood waters will also need to be cleaned and sanitised.
After your tank has been cleaned
Once your tank has been cleaned and sanitised, refill it from a source of water known to be safe. For more information on disinfecting water, get the guidelines for private water supplies.
You can organise private water supply testing to check for chemicals and microorganisms.