Melbourne has some of the world’s best drinking water, which we test regularly to make sure it meets strict quality standards. Learn what we test for and how, or view sample water quality results.
Did you know the colour, taste and smell of your water can change throughout the year? This is very normal and usually depends on things like:
- which reservoir your water is from – each naturally varies in colour and mineral content
- demand – more water is used in summer, so it travels faster through the pipes
- water temperature – cooler water generally tastes better.
Why we test water quality
All the water we supply, no matter where it comes from, must meet strict water quality requirements. We are regularly audited under the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003, and report all drinking water quality issues to the Department of Health each year.
The laws and guidelines we follow include:
- Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015 (Department of Health and Human Services)
- Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (National Health and Medical Research Council)
- water quality standards, as set out in our bulk water supply agreements with Melbourne’s retail water companies.
Testing water quality ensures we meet these requirements. It also helps us:
- fine-tune our water treatment processes
- identify potential issues, like algal blooms
- decide where to transfer water – for example, avoiding reservoirs experiencing water quality issues.
Where we test
Each year we test water samples from over 160 sites within our water supply network, including:
- storage reservoirs
- service reservoirs
- transfer mains.
We also test water at points of supply to the retail water companies, as a final check that it meets requirements before being transferred onto homes and businesses.
What we test for
We test for a number of parameters, including:
- clarity (turbidity)
- minerals and natural substances like iron and manganese
- bacteria, such as E. coli
- chlorine and fluoride levels
- contaminants like fuel and pesticides.
Water quality data – 2020-21 analysis
The following data represents a typical analysis of Melbourne’s drinking water quality. This is based on testing results from our major storage reservoirs, once water has been through the primary treatment process.
- all parameters are measured in milligrams per litre unless otherwise noted
- values are rounded to the nearest decimal point.
|Electrical conductivity (uS/cm)||61-126||61-71||44-64||109-121||136-156|
|Chloroacetic acid (ug/l)||<3||<3||<3||<3||<3|
|Dichloroacetic acid (ug/l)||3||3-4||14-15||3-4||7-8|
|Trichloroacetic acid (ug/l)||3||2-4||10||2||6-7|
|Total alkalinity as CaCO3||19-24||12-14||10-15||11-13||13-32|
|Total organic carbon||1.0-1.5||1.3-1.4||1.3-1.8||1.0-1.8||1.9-2.2|
|Total dissolved solids||34-70||34-41||24-35||60-67||75-86|