Are you planning a trip to Australia? Perhaps you’re relocating for a new job or a change of scenery.
Regardless of why you’re heading down under, there are a few basic questions we ask ourselves when heading to any new country.
Most importantly, we want to know whether or not tap water is safe to drink.
As we aren’t familiar with the way the country processes their water sources or where they come from, we are hesitant to drink from the tap in case we become sick.
Luckily, in developed nations tap water is almost always safe enough to drink.
But as Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, where does it get its tap water from and is it safe to drink?
Where does Australia get its water from?
The majority of Australia relies on surface water sources such as rivers, lakes, streams, and reservoirs.
Rainwater is collected in reservoirs and stored for later use.
Other sources of water include groundwater, which can be found anywhere in the world as it accumulates in the rocks and soil below the earth’s surface.
Ensuring there is enough drinking water available is of the utmost importance, as a result, there are a number of desalination plants across the country.
These plants remove the salt and other minerals from seawater to make it safe for drinking.
On the whole, Australia relies on reservoirs for a large portion of its municipal water sources. This can be unreliable in times of drought, which is only worsening due to climate change.
Brisbane Tap Water
The tap water in Brisbane is safe to drink and meets all government guidelines.
Roughly 50% of Brisbane’s water comes from the Wivenhoe Dam which is west of the city.
From here, the water travels to the Mount Crosby plant which removes all contaminants before the water is deemed safe to discharge to household taps.
Brisbane also receives a large amount of drinking water from the Tugun desalination plant.
This plant uses reverse osmosis to produce drinking water for the Gold Coast, Logan, and Brisbane.
Water suppliers Seqwater and Urban Utilities are committing to supplying residents with high-quality drinking water and are working to ensure that there will be secure supplies for the future with the rise in alternative water supplies.
Melbourne Tap Water
Tap water in Melbourne is safe to drink and is thought to be one of the best qualities in Australia.
Water supplies in Melbourne come from ten different storage reservoirs across the capital and the surrounding areas.
The water from these reservoirs comes from protected catchments such as the Yarra Ranges.
Forests such as these act as a natural filter that slowly releases water into the city’s reservoirs. As a result, the water is of the highest quality and needs hardly any treatment.
When the water is treated or purified, the standards which the water must meet are strict.
Once the water has made its way from these larger reservoirs, it will be transported through any number of the smaller reservoirs across Melbourne.
Here, the water quality in Melbourne is tested once again to ensure that it meets all the requirements before it flows from your tap.
Sydney Tap Water
The tap water in Sydney is safe to drink. The city gets its water from three main sources: groundwater, surface water, and the sea.
Water flows from the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands into the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system, which makes up the majority of Sydney’s drinking water.
Sydney’s water passes through a number of filters right from the source.
Chlorination is also used to treat tap water to remove harmful bacteria, algae, viruses, and so on in order to disinfect the water.
The only issue with the tap water in Sydney is that you may find it to smell or taste of chlorine. Regardless of this, it is completely safe to drink.
As some people dislike this, there are many filter systems available that can purify the taste of tap water to make it more palatable.
Other areas of Australia
Government guidelines are the same throughout Australia, which means that water quality will be held to the same standard wherever you go.
To ensure there are no threats to the water quality, read local guidelines when traveling to new places.
Is tap water safe to drink in Australia?
Government bodies are in charge of ensuring the tap water is of safe quality for residents to drink.
Regional Departments of Health constantly monitor the quality of water supplies throughout the continent.
This is to check for contaminants and to check all tap water has been properly treated before entering the municipal waterways.
The 2010 Public Health Act is a law that calls for all drinking water suppliers to complete quality assurance tests on a regular basis.
Residents can request the results of these tests from their local suppliers if they wish.
Checking your local drinking water supply
If for any reason you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water, there are a number of government resources that can assist you.
Water quality results can be found on your state’s government website, these results are constantly updated.
Incidents and contamination issues
On the rare occasion that there are contamination concerns or incidents residents need to be aware of, the government will issue a notice to those in affected areas.
Communities will be advised to boil their drinking water as well as take other precautions to avoid microbiological contamination.
Should this happen when visiting Australia, sticking to bottled water is also a safe option.
Tourists will also be updated on the necessary precautions to take when staying in an area with contaminated drinking water supplies.
The bottom line
When visiting a new country, drinking water supplies can be of great concern. Reading government guidelines is advised before drinking tap water in a new country.
However, Australia has strict rules and regulations to ensure that its tap water is of the highest quality.