Licensed venues that supply alcohol for consumption on-site are required to provide free drinking water to their patrons.
Licensed venues that supply alcohol for consumption on site are required to provide free drinking water to their patrons. The responsibility is on the licensee to ensure adequate facilities are provided. Substantial fines may apply for non-compliance.
Licensees may apply to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation for an exemption to their mandatory requirement to provide free water.
The Commission has discretion over which applications are approved, and will determine each application on its own merits. However, under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, the Commission must consider:
For example, an exemption may be granted where the licensee does not have access to mains water and the lack of free drinking water will not lead to alcohol-related harm.
If you wish to apply for an exemption, you can download the application form Exemption from the requirement to provide free drinking water at licensed premises (PDF 338 KB).
A poster is available for licensees to download that advises patrons that the venue provides free water. Download a copy of the Free water available poster (PDF, 948KB) to display in your venue today. If you would like a copy for digital displays, download the high resolution version (JPEG, 1MB).
VicHealth conducted a trial in Melbourne licensed premises to determine what factors might promote patron water consumption. The findings help fill a gap in knowledge about how changes in supply, accessibility and promotion of drinking water in the context of a licensed premises can affect patrons’ consumption of water.
For more information or to read the report visit the VicHealth website.
Free water is an important part of RSA. Advertise availability in your venue now.