Melbourne has some of the world’s best drinking water, which we test regularly to ensure it meets strict water quality requirements — as well as checking aesthetics like colour, taste and smell. Know what we test, and view results of a typical analysis.
Why we test water quality
High quality water is important to us. We work hard at making Melbourne’s water clean and healthy. To do this, we:
- monitor the water quality within the catchments and distribution system through regular sampling and analysis
- we monitor and research Melbourne’s rivers and creeks
- we sample water at over 100 waterway monitoring sites
- in summer, we test key recreational sites for E. coli and blue green algae
- we regularly test water being transferred into businesses and homes, as a final check that it meets quality requirements.
Testing water quality helps us to fine-tune our water treatment processes, identify potential issues like algal blooms in advance, and decide where to transfer water, such as avoiding reservoirs with water quality issues.
Where we test
Each year we test samples from over 160 sites, including:
* storage reservoirs
* service reservoirs
* transfer mains
* points of supply to our retail water customers.
What we test for
- Clarity (turbidity)
Minerals and natural substances like iron and manganese
Bacteria, such as E. coli
Chlorine and fluoride levels
Contaminants like fuel and pesticides.
We follow strict standards
All the water we supply, no matter where it comes from, must meet strict water quality requirements.
We follow several laws and guidelines:
- Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2005, set and administered by the Department of Health and Human Services
- Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011, developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council
- water quality standards set in our bulk water supply agreements with the retail water companies.
We use independently-certified systems to manage water quality, including ISO 9001 and the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) system. Both are used in food and pharmaceutical industries worldwide.
We are audited regularly under the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003, and report all drinking water quality issues to the Department of Health each year.
But why does my water taste, smell or look different then?
Think your water looks a bit different today?
The colour, taste and smell of your water can actually change throughout the year. This is very normal and usually depends on the following factors:
- source of water — your water can come from a number of reservoirs, each with natural differences in colour and mineral content
- demand — people tend to use more water in summer, which causes it to travel faster through the pipes
- temperature — temperature changes its taste (cooler water generally tastes better), and depends on the time of year.
Typical analysis of Melbourne's water
We test water quality from our major storage reservoirs once it has been through the primary treatment process. These results are used to provide a typical analysis of Melbourne's water quality, which is based on data from the previous five years. See the stats.
Results from January 2019
all parameters are measured in milligrams per litre unless otherwise noted
values are rounded to the nearest decimal point.
|Parameter/ source||Cardinia||Greenvale||Silvan||Winneke||Tarago||Yan Yean|
|Specific conductance (uS/cm)||55-75||49-71||40-64||120-140||150-180||110-140|
|Aluminium - acid soluble||0.03-0.06||0.05-0.10||0.05-0.13||0.017-0.080||0-0.08||0.03-0.09|
|Chromium||< 0.001||< 0.001||< 0.001||< 0.001||< 0.001||< 0.001|
|Copper||0.007-0.01||0-0.072||0.037-0.11||< 0.001-0.001||< 0.001-0.001||< 0.001-0.01|
|Haloacetic acids: |
|- Chloroacetic acid (ug/l)||< 3||< 3||< 3||< 3||< 3||< 3|
|- Dichloroacetic acid (ug/l)||3-9||3-7||5-21||< 1-17||5-10||< 1-17|
|- Trichloroacetic acid (ug/l)||18-20||3-10||28-48||7-30||5-12||7-30|
|Silica as SIO2||3.9-5.7||2.3-7.2||5.9-7.0||3.4-5.2||4.3-6.0||3.4-5.2|
|Total alkalinity as CaCO3||10-19||9-12||7-12||9-14||23-18||9-14|
|Total organic carbon||1.3-1.7||1.8-1.9||1.7-3.0||1.2-1.6||1.7-2.3||1.2-1.6|
|Total dissolved solids||35-42||31-41||32-38||73-84||92-95||73-84|
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Water Quality Annual Report
Check out a yearly wrap of Melbourne's drinking water quality issues in our Water Quality Annual Report.