Is Melbourne Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Is Melbourne Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Quality drinking water is essential to daily life. Unsurprisingly, it’s something people tend to take for granted. Whichever city you live in, you trust that your drinking water is 100% safe. But exactly how safe is Melbourne tap water? Have you noticed a bizarre taste? Or, perhaps it’s a little cloudy. Have you wondered whether it is safer to drink bottled water? To ease your mind, this comprehensive blog explains everything you ever wanted to know about drinking water quality in Melbourne.

Is it safe to drink Melbourne tap water?

Yes, it is. Melbourne tap water is among the safest in Australia. But that’s not all. It has twice been voted among the world’s most drinkable. In the International Water Tasting Competition, Melbourne tap water received second place in 2016 and 2019, respectively.

The International Water Tasting Competition compared the quality of drinking water across the world. In making their decision, competition judges based their selections on the following:

  • Appearance
  • Aroma
  • Taste
  • Aftertaste, and;
  • Mouthfeel

So, move over bottled water! Melbourne tap water is officially some of the world’s safest to drink.

What exactly does Melbourne tap water contain?

Melbourne has a stellar reputation of being one of two cities worldwide which sources water directly from protected catchments. Collected from the Yarra Ranges, the forest is a natural filter for tap water. This means, it simply needs to be disinfected.

The region’s sponge-like soil holds rainwater, which is gradually released into reservoirs. And, with limited public access, very little treatment is needed to clean it. Stored in these reservoirs for five years, impurities have ample time to break down.

Public safety is paramount. Reservoir-stored water is treated, so strict water quality guidelines are met. In addition, protected catchments are disinfected in the following ways:

  • Small quantity of chlorine is added
  • Membrane filtration, and;
  • UV irradiation treatment

Along with the aforementioned methods, fluoride is also added. It is added to protect and strengthen your teeth.

Therefore, after it is treated, Melbourne tap water is among the safest in the world.

Why is chlorine added?

As you may know, a minuscule amount of chlorine is added to Melbourne’s drinking water. The reason for this is to disinfect the water within Melbourne’s catchment areas.

The soil within the Yarra Ranges acts as a natural filter. This helps to eliminate all water-borne, disease-causing bacteria which may be present. According to Melbourne Water, the chlorine concentration in your water may vary. However, you can rest assured that it is generally under one milligram per litre (i.e. 0.0001%).

How hard is Melbourne tap water?

Hardness is a measure of minerals that dissolve in drinking water. The higher the mineral concentration, the harder your water is. Fortunately, hardened water will not make you sick. However, it does make daily tasks, such as washing dishes, washing clothes, showering, and bathing, more difficult.

The good news is, Melbourne tap water is quite soft. It contains concentrations of minerals that vary from 11 grams to 38 grams per litre.

How is tap water quality tested?

Maintaining public health and safety is of paramount concern for Melbourne’s water supply authorities. As such, tap water undergoes rigorous testing before reaching your tap. To guarantee the highest quality, Melbourne’s water supply is tested for various factors, including:

  • Concentrations of chlorine and fluoride
  • Mineral content or water hardness
  • Presence of bacteria
  • pH levels
  • Possible contaminants, such as fuel and pesticides, and;
  • Radiological quality

Each year, the Melbourne water authority painstakingly tests samples collected from more than 160 sites. In addition, over 800 physical and chemical samples and 3,000 microbiological samples are taken from catchment areas. This ensures you are receiving tap water of the highest quality.

The aesthetic components of drinking water are also tested annually. These checks ensure consistency in:

  • Clarity
  • Colour
  • Mouthfeel, and;
  • Smell

A note on water contamination in Melbourne, 2021

In June 2021, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley experienced devastating storms. As a consequence, Yarra Valley Water advised residents to not use their tap water, as it was contaminated. The main suburbs affected were Kallista, the Patch, and Sherbrooke. Residents in these areas were issued bottled water. They were also permitted to collect water in their containers. However, they were advised by authorities that boiling the water they collected would not remove the contaminants.

One short month later, Melbourne suffered another severe storm. This time, over 100 suburbs were left with a contaminated water supply. Upwards of 200,000 households were affected. And, each resident was told to boil water before consuming it.

To keep residents informed, Melbourne’s Environmental Protection Authority issues real-time water quality alerts.

Can I improve the quality of my drinking water?

As mentioned previously, Melbourne’s tap water is of the highest quality. In fact, the water not only meets but exceeds all national water regulations. And best of all, it tastes amazing! Therefore, most people do not feel a need to improve the quality of their water any further.

Having said that, there are steps you can take to improve your tap water. You can, for instance, install a water filter. This handy device will provide you with the utmost assurance that your water is 100% fresh and free of contaminants.

Trust Andrew J Robertson Plumbing for all your water filtration needs

Do you want to experience the difference filtered, clean, healthy water can make? Simply contact the friendly team at Andrew J Robertson Plumbing.

With over 30 years of experience in the Oakleigh area, we’re here to help with any plumbing emergency. From finding water leaks, to (fixing leaking taps, repairing hot water system and more, we handle it all.

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