Why Melbourne's water tastes great

There is no need to filter your drinking water. In Melbourne, clean, affordable water is readily available to our homes and businesses whenever we need it. It’s essential to our way of life and it tastes great straight from the tap.

Here are four reasons why our water tastes great - also known as elements of Melbourne's water supply system. 

Prefer video? Watch this quick overview instead:

Reason 1: most of our water comes from protected catchments

In Melbourne, water is essential to our way of life.

Melbourne is one of only two cities in the world with drinking water that primarily comes from protected catchments, where water only needs to be disinfected. 

These native forests up in the Yarra Ranges act as sort of a natural filter. Sponge-like soils filter and hold rainwater, which is slowly released into the rivers that feed our water storage reservoirs.

Most these catchments have limited public access, producing very clean water that needs little treatment.

Natural filtration means less treatment, and less treatment means more affordable water.

Meet our water catchments



Water testing at Maroondah Reservoir
Water testing at Maroondah Reservoir

Reason 2: our water storage reservoirs help improve water quality

Did you know water can rest in our water storage reservoirs for up to five years? This helps improve its quality as impurities break down over time.

Today, Melbourne’s water supply comes primarily from dams and reservoirs. Our reservoirs are interconnected, allowing us to move water when we need to. For example, we might move water out of a reservoir so it can fill up during heavy rain, or direct less water to treatment plants that cost more to operate.

Know our water
storage reservoirs






Female operational staff at Winneke Treatment Plant
Melbourne Water staff at Winneke Treatment Plant

Reason 3: we purify and treat water to strict standards

After leaving our reservoirs, water is purified at our water treatment plants so it is safe to drink. Most of our water needs very little treatment, but water from open catchments is fully treated to meet strict water quality guidelines. 

To maintain the standard of our drinking water, we request that members of the public don’t operate drones over treatment facilities or our reservoirs.

Get the finer details on the full treatment process, and meet our major water treatment plants — Winneke and Tarago — and the Victorian Desalination Plant.

Read our treatment process






Reason 4: We test water quality before transferring it to you

Treated water flows through large pipes (water mains) to our 38 smaller service reservoirs across Melbourne. These hold water for a few days to make sure there’s always some on hand - and is one point where we test water quality. 

We then supply water to your retail water company, where water flows through a smaller pipe system direct to your tap - on hand when and where you need it.  

Read how we test water quality





Environmental water release at Starvation Creek

Together, these elements make up our water supply system

Water catchments, water storage reservoirs, water treatment and pipelines form part of Melbourne's water supply system. 

Some of these are over 100 years old, while others are new. We'll continue to monitor their condition, maintain and renew them, so that our drinking water continues to taste great. 

Browse related works and projects

Read our water system strategy  



Last updated:
23 February 2023