PARCHED: Water carter Joe McCabe says demand has picked up in the past few weeks.
PARCHED: Water carter Joe McCabe says demand has picked up in the past few weeks. Adam Hourigan

Licences under review

WHEN tapping on the side of the water tank produces a hollow sound and the skies are clear and blue, it could be time to call in back-up.

Rainwater tanks across the Clarence Valley are running dry and water carters are in high demand.

Warning residents to be wary of who they engage to deliver drinking water, Clarence Valley Council water cycle manager Greg Mashiah said the council was in the process of reviewing its licensing requirements for water cartage.

"A report will go before council next Tuesday after recent changes made to the Public Health Act," Mr Mashiah said, adding concerns had been raised over the potential health impacts of improper water cartage.

He said the report would recommend water carters keep better records and there would be "significantly more requirements" than in the past.

The report would also recommend water carters keep a log of where water had been delivered.

With rumours of water carters operating in some areas without authorisation, and water being stolen from the council, Mr Mashiah said it was important to ensure there was no cross-contamination.

While all water carters in the Clarence Valley are privately owned and operate independently of the council, they are required to have a permit. "If anyone has concerns, they should check with council to see if the person is a registered water carter," Mr Mashiah said.

One of several licensed potable water carters in the Valley, owner of Ararat Water Joe McCabe, said he only picked up water from authorised collection points.

Delivering across the Valley, Mr McCabe has been running the business part time for four years.

He said inquiries started picking up about three weeks ago and last week he did eight deliveries.

"Before that we would have gone months without doing a delivery - it's been a very wet four years."

Meanwhile, general daily water usage has been lower than usual for this time of year, with the Valley consuming about 17-18 megalitres a day in September.

Residents are reminded the area is on a permanent level one restriction, which means no fixed hoses between 9am and 4pm.

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