How Does Melbourne Tap Water Compare? [2022 Update]
Have you ever thought that Melbourne tap water tastes funny? Or perhaps it’s been looking a little cloudy. You might even be wondering if it is safe to drink tap water in one of the world’s most liveable cities, or whether you’re better off sticking to bottled water.
Luckily, Metropolitan Plumbing is here to run you through everything you need to know about Melbourne’s drinking water so you can keep yourself and your family safe.
Is Melbourne Tap Water Safe To Drink?
First things first, yes, drink it. Melbourne tap water is absolutely safe to drink and meets Australian drinking water guidelines. In fact, it’s among the best tap water in the world and even got second place in the ‘Best Municipal Water’ category at the International Water Tasting Competition for both 2016 and 2019!
This competition pitted water from across the world against each other to find the world’s best drinking water. Ten judges sampled tap water and determined the winners based on several factors:
More than just safe to drink, as a two-time place-getter in the International Water Tasting Competition, tap water in Melbourne is some of the highest quality in the world.
What is in Melbourne’s Tap Water?
Melbourne is one of only two cities in the world that sources its water from protected catchments. Up in the Yarra Ranges, native forests act as a natural filter.
The sponge-like soil of these ranges absorbs rainwater which gets slowly released into water reservoirs. Due to the limited public access to these water catchments, they require very little treatment for purification.
These reservoirs store water for up to five years, which is plenty of time for any existing impurities to break down.
Water from natural reservoirs still undergoes treatment to ensure it meets strict drinking water quality guidelines. There are three different methods of disinfecting protected catchments, which are:
- Small amounts of chlorine added
- UV irradiation treatment
- Membrane filtrations
Fluoride is also added to protect our teeth and keep them strong. Post-treatment, Melbourne tap water is perfectly safe to drink and meets strict water quality guidelines!
Water Contamination Melbourne 2021
Devastating storms in June 2021 resulted in significant water contamination issues that affected certain areas of the outer Melbourne region. Suburbs and towns affected by the water quality issues included Kallista, Sherbrooke and The Patch. Yarra Valley Water issued a directive to its customers instructing them to not use its tap water and instead drink bottled water until it was able to resolve the issue. It supplied its customers with bottled water, and residents were able to collect water in their own containers. However, Yarra Valley Water instructed them that boiling their tap water would not remove the contaminants.
Only a month later, another storm left more than 100 suburbs with contaminated water. It impacted over 200,000 households that had to boil their water before consuming it.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) releases water quality alerts in real time. These alerts provide vital information about Melbourne water for residents in areas serviced by Yarra Valley Water, Greater Western Water (the merged City West Water Corporation and Western Region Water Corporation) and South East Water.
How is Melbourne Tap Water Quality Tested?
Melbourne’s tap water goes through rigorous testing before it reaches our taps. Public health is always the top concern for the city’s water supply authorities.
To ensure and maintain its high quality, Melbourne’s drinking water supply gets tested for:
- mineral content/water hardness
- chlorine and fluoride concentrations
- contaminants such as pesticides and fuel
- radiological quality
Every year, authorities test samples from over 160 sites to examine and preserve the quality of our tap water. They collect over 3,000 microbiological and 800 physical/chemical samples which get tested annually.
Aesthetic components of our tap water are also tested:
Melbourne’s water supply authorities are dedicated to maintaining the exceptional quality of our drinking water.
Is there Chlorine in Melbourne’s Water Supply?
Small amounts of chlorine are added to open catchments to disinfect the water. According to Melbourne Water, the amount of chlorine added can vary but it is typically less than one milligram per litre of water, or 0.0001%.
The addition of chlorine helps to prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria in our drinking water.
Melbourne Tap Water Hardness
Melbourne Water also tests for water hardness. This is a measure of the dissolved minerals in water – the higher the concentration of minerals, the harder the water is. While you won’t get sick from hard water, it can make everyday tasks more difficult.
Thankfully, tap water hardness is not a problem. In 2020-2021 it was found to be relatively soft, with concentrations varying from 11 to 38 grams per litre.
Improve Your Melbourne Drinking Water Quality At Home
Thankfully, Melbourne’s tap water meets all national water regulations and strict standards and tastes great to boot, which means that most people feel no need to improve their water quality. That said, many people like to install water filters to be doubly sure about the quality of their drinking water supply.
Metropolitan Plumbing can install a water filter system in your home today so you can do away with the ongoing expense of bottled water, and remove contaminants once and for all! We’ve been in the plumbing industry for over 25 years and can even provide same-day service to further improve the quality of your drinking water. We can even be at your home in just 1 hour*!
For a plumbing service that you can trust, contact us today!