We probably all take having running tap water for granted most of the time. After all, it’s vital for our daily lives and we use it for household tasks, cooking, and of course, drinking. If you live in Melbourne you might be looking for confirmation that our tap water is safe to drink. The good news is that Melbourne tap water undergoes rigorous testing before it reaches our homes. This helps to ensure that it’s good enough to drink.
There can be natural variations in the water supply. When you notice cloudiness or an unusual taste in your water, it might make you wonder what’s going on. To help you make sense of the water supply, we’ve put together this guide looking at how Melbourne’s tap water compares to elsewhere.
Before you consume anything it’s natural to want to know what’s in it, and this includes your tap water. Very little is actually added to Melbourne’s tap water. Interestingly, we’re one of the only cities in the world that sources its tap water from protected catchments. Water is naturally filtered by forests in the Yarra Ranges before slowly being released in reservoirs, meaning that it only needs to be disinfected for health reasons before people can use it.
Australia has stringent guidelines for water quality. Reservoir water can be held for up to five years, and whilst this means impurities have plenty of time to break down, some treatment is still needed to meet the requirements. Open catchments of Melbourne water have a small amount of chlorine added to them, but this works out to typically be less than one milligram per litre. Chlorine is an essential additive for preventing bacteria from growing. Fluoride is also added to Melbourne water, which helps to ensure the strength and health of teeth and bones for residents of all ages.
Hard water is water that has high mineral content. Whilst drinking hard water isn’t bad for your health, and in fact, is considered by some to be beneficial to health, you might notice a difference in taste when you drink hard water. It can sometimes also make some household tasks more difficult like washing clothes. The city’s water is managed by Melbourne Water, which test regularly for water hardness. Fortunately, Melbourne has soft water, with the supply’s mineral content typically testing at between 11 and 38 milligrams per litre. Anything under 60 milligrams per litre is considered to be soft water.
Melbourne Water isn’t just responsible for testing for water hardness. The organisation also carries out a range of other tests to ensure that tap water in Melbourne is safe to use. They test the water supply for various factors including pH balance, bacteria and other contaminants, concentrations of chlorine and fluoride, and radiological quality. These thorough tests help to protect public health in the city. Every year Melbourne Water also tests samples from around 160 sites to ensure the ongoing quality of our water. These include microbiological samples as well as aesthetics like colour and clarity.
Now to the most important question – is Melbourne tap water safe to drink? Luckily for us, the answer is a clear yes! It meets all of the national regulations for safe drinking water. Not only is tap water in Melbourne perfectly safe, but it’s also been judged to be delicious too. Melbourne is in fact one of the best tap waters in the world and won the distinction of second place in the “best municipal water” category of the International Water Tasting Competition in both 2016 and 2019! Entrants were judged on a variety of different factors such as taste, aroma, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. If you want to drink award-winning water in Melbourne there’s no need to go looking for upmarket spring water – you just need to turn on the kitchen tap.
If you feel that your drinking water isn’t living up to Melbourne’s top reputation, there are some steps you can take. Installing a water filter can take away any niggling concerns you have about the quality of your water at home and should mean you get clean and clear water every time. If you think a water filter is needed at your home, an experienced plumber can set you up with water filters easily and efficiently.
It’s clear that we’re lucky to have such fantastic water at our fingertips in Melbourne. If you need support with your water supply, professional plumbers can help you to resolve issues quickly, including leaking taps. Contact Andrew J. Robertson Plumbing for all your domestic plumbing needs in the South Eastern suburbs.
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