Safe drinking water

Our urban water supplies are treated and are safe for drinking and food preparation.

Our urban water supplies are treated and are safe for drinking and food preparation. Our treatment plants treat water to meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) and the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (SDWA). For more information, see Water treatment and testing.

Our rural water supplies are untreated. This means there is no protection against disease-causing organisms, algal toxins and trace elements that may contaminate the water.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority has more information about blackwater.

Untreated water is not safe for drinking, food preparation or cleaning teeth.

Untreated water

Most of our customers get their drinking water directly from us through a reticulated water supply – this is the water that’s supplied through water mains. However, where reticulated drinking water is not available, some people get their drinking water from private supplies, such as:

  • rainwater tanks
  • bores
  • dams
  • streams, rivers and creeks
  • irrigation channels.

Mains water has the highest quality for drinking.

Rainwater tanks can provide a good quality source of drinking water if they are properly installed and maintained. For more information, see Greywater and rainwater.

Water from bores, rivers, creeks or dams should not be used as drinking water – unless the water has been treated to make it safe to use. But you can use this water for domestic and stock purposes.

We take all reasonable steps to make sure that residents and visitors to areas that use untreated water are aware that it is not suitable for consumption. This also applies to irrigation water we supply and to water extracted by private diverters.

For more information, see Living with an untreated water supply.

The Victorian Department of Health has information about drinking water – see:

Contaminated water

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria issues alerts when there is an issue affecting a waterway in Victoria – see Water quality alerts.

Changes to water colour, taste or smell

Brown water can result from a build-up of natural sediments in the water pipes. Significant water flow changes in our water mains – for example, after a burst water main – can disturb the sediments, discolouring the water.

If you live in an older property, brown water may be caused by the corrosion of galvanised iron water pipes. Rust particles make the water brown.

A noticeable change in the taste or odour of tap water can be caused by:

  • installing new pipes
  • water sitting in pipes for a long time.

We recommend you run the tap until the water is clear and check that it has no odour or unusual taste before you drink it.

What to do if your water quality has changed

Run your front tap – the tap closest to your water meter – for about one minute. This should flush out any sediments.

If the water clears temporarily but becomes brown again later, then the problem is likely to be internal corrosion in galvanised iron pipes.

You can contact a plumber to fix this problem.

If the water is still not clear after being checked by a plumber, contact us.

Water quality testing

Our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report provides comprehensive information on the quality of drinking water we have supplied in our service area. The reports highlight the test results from our water quality monitoring program and outlines the processes we have in place to continue delivering safe, clean drinking water.

See our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report.

Our Monthly Water Quality Report provides water quality performance under the Safe Drinking Water Act standards. Key parameters tested are:

  • E. coli – bacterial indicator of faecal contamination
  • turbidity – water clarity
  • trihalomethanes – by-products of disinfection, formed when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter in the water.

See our Monthly Water Quality Reports.