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TOWN DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES – Q & As (Questions & Answers)

What exactly is the issue?

  • The quality of water from the Murray River has led to an increase in sludge levels that has reduced production. We have assessed that there is a risk there may not be sufficient water to meet demand, so we imposed restrictions on external use of the town drinking water supply, to reduce the risk of supply for critical human needs.

Is the water safe to drink and/or shower in?

  • LMW ensures water delivered to residential customers is safe for drinking and domestic use. The quality of the water continues to meet the standards for safe drinking water.  A ‘boil water notice’ was issued for Red Cliffs on Sunday 15 December 2019 at around 7pm, as a precautionary measure.
  • The boil water notice was lifted on Monday 16 December 2019 at approximately 3pm.

Do I have to boil water prior to drinking?

  • There are currently no boil water notices issued and therefore no recommendation to boil water prior to drinking.  A boil water notice was issued for Red Cliffs but has now been removed.
  • No other boil water notices are in place.

Is this related to blue-green algae?

  • There are high levels of blue-green algae in the Murray River at present and this is affecting the quality of the water supplied to the Water Treatment Plants.
  • We test for blue-green algae after the water is treated to ensure that there are no blue-green algae in the water delivered to residential customers through the LMW town water supply systems.

Is this going to be an issue all summer?

  • We cannot predict the quality of the water that we take from the Murray River.
  • If water supply issues arise again, LMW will ensure that urban customers continue to be supplied with safe drinking water.

Will this mean we will need to go to higher levels of restriction?

  • The issues we are now experiencing, are not related to the Stage 1 water restrictions currently in place.
  • The emergency water use restrictions introduced are temporary measures and over-ride Stage 1 water restrictions while poor source water quality is causing reduced capacity of Water Treatment Plants to supply safe drinking water.

Where are emergency water use restrictions in place?

  • Emergency water use restrictions are now in place in Mildura, Merbein and Irymple townships.  Emergency water use restrictions apply to town drinking water supplies in these areas.

How long will emergency water use restrictions be in place?

  • Emergency water use restrictions remain in place until further notice. We are working hard to restore the water treatment plants back to normal operation and will continue to provide regular updates.

What can you do and not do during emergency water use restrictions?

  • Water may only be used for indoor domestic use.
  • No outdoor use is permitted for town drinking water supplies in Mildura, Merbein and Irymple townships.
  • Automatic sprinklers must be turned off during this emergency water use restriction period.
  • Swimming pools are prohibited from being topped up by automatic or manual means during the emergency water use restriction period.
  • New pools are not to be filled during the emergency water use restriction period.

Are emergency restrictions applicable to rural customers?

  • Emergency water use restrictions apply to town drinking water supplies only in Mildura, Merbein and Irymple.
  • Rural customers including those with a Domestic and Stock connection are supplied raw river water and the restrictions imposed on town drinking water supply customers do not apply to them (unless have both a rural and urban connection).

Can I use a water carting service provider to supply me additional water?

  • Town drinking water supplies (that water carting service providers fill from) are unable to be used for any outdoor application by urban customers, even if supplied by a water carting service provider.

Who can water carting service providers supply during emergency water use restrictions?

  • Water carting service providers can supply rural customers with drinking water supplies from the town drinking water (urban) system.
  • Water carting service providers are not able to supply urban water customers with water for any outdoor application during emergency water use restrictions.
  • Pools are not to be filled or topped up by a water carting service provider during emergency water use restrictions periods.

How much do water carting services cost?

  • Contact water carting service providers to obtain a cost estimate.
  • A list of water carting service providers is on the LMW website.
  • Prices vary between service providers and according to individual requirements.

Is the situation under control?

  • By implementing restrictions for emergency water use restrictions in townships, existing water storage levels can be managed to deliver critical drinking water supplies, particularly in the upcoming week of hot weather.
  • The situation is being monitored 24/7 and responses assessed accordingly.

 Can this happen elsewhere?

  • In locations where the source water quality from the Murray River is poor, water treatment processes can be affected to varying degrees.

What is the worst-case scenario?

  • Without measures such as restricting outdoor water use in townships, critical drinking water supplies could be reduced to unacceptable levels.
  • It is important to put in place all available measures to ensure that drinking water supplies are maintained for residential customers and are safe to consume.