Water facts and history

Discover the facts and stories behind our water data to inform, sate your curiosity or casually rule your next virtual trivia night. With in-depth knowledge acquired from managing Melbourne's water supply catchments, sewage treatment, river health and major drainage systems, we're keen to pay it forward. Select your topic of interest, and soak it up.


Winneke Water Treatment Plant at Sugarloaf Reservoir

Why our drinking water tastes great

Most of Melbourne's drinking water comes from forests high up in the Yarra Ranges, and is naturally filtered. That's one reason why our drinking water tastes great from the tap. Find out the other reasons, which step you through the manner in which water is supplied to you:

Water catchments

Water storage reservoirs

Water treatment

Testing water quality  

Discover the reasons why



Tip: Discover details about desalination, and how it helps to secure our water supply.




Melbourne Main Sewage Replacement Project (MMSR), Flinders Wharf, Wurundjerri Way bypass

The importance of sewerage

Did you know we built the underground sewerage system in the 1890s? Discover how sewerage continues to be integral to our city to ensure sanitation, and why it's super important to watch what you flush. 


See why sewerage is important





Aerial view of sewage treatment lagoons at the Western Treatment Plant

What happens after you flush?

Do you know where sewage goes? Find out what happens after you flush, from sewage disposal to treatment. Get to know the Western and Eastern treatment plants, and how we recycle water to ensure 'wastewater' is put to sensational use. 


Western Treatment Plant treatment processes

Eastern Treatment Plant treatment processes

Producing recycled water



Learn what happens when you flush





cars driving on flooded road

Does it flood in Melbourne?

Yes. As 'floodplain manager' for the region, discover the ways we're working to reduce the risk of floods, including how we maintain stormwater drains. Discover what a 'retarding basin' does, and how we collect and develop flood information for the prevention, response and recovery phases of flood management in Melbourne.


Drainage system

Retarding basins


Find out more about flooding





Overhead shot of Werribee River

Know your rivers, creeks and wetlands

If we lined up all the rivers and creeks that flow into Port Phillip Bay and Western Port, how long would it be? If you guessed 25,000 kilometres, you'd be right! Find out how we manage these waterways, and work to maintain their health and habitat. Know more about your local waterways, home to 36 species of freshwater fish and many other animals and plants.


Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands

Bass River

Dandenong Creek


Meet our rivers and creeks






Cocoroc township at Western Treatment Plant site

History and heritage

Check out our rich heritage inherited largely from our predecessor, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, as well as the cultural heritage of the Traditional Owners of the land, rivers and creeks we care for today.


Timeline of our history

Heritage management

Water supply history

Sewerage history

Rivers and creeks history


View our history and heritage




Last updated:
13 October 2020