Perhaps many people have asked this question at least once in their lives: is tap water in Australia safe to drink?
Are there risks and issues to it? And if there are, what are they? Is it better to drink bottled water instead? What is the best filter for tap water in Brisbane and Australia?
This article will explore the facts behind tap water in Australia, how it’s monitored, and whether it’s safe to drink. But first, where does tap water in Australia come from?
Australia is known for its dry, arid soil. It’s the driest continent and country and one of the highest consumers of water in the world. Australia ranked fourth in the ranking of water use per capita in 2019.
In most parts of the country, the primary source of municipal water supply is the surface water stored in reservoirs, making water supply vulnerable to droughts. Only a tiny percentage of it comes from groundwater.
The Australian government said climate change would raise acute, long-term water shortages with less rainfall, causing rivers to dry up and water levels to fall. So, in consequence, Australia will need to use non-conventional water sources such as seawater desalination to supply its water. Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide have built recent seawater desalination plants for preparation.
Moreover, the non-potable reuse of treated wastewater is increasing in the irrigation of green spaces, crops, golf courses, and industrial uses.
According to experts, water is considered safe to drink when the supply does not surpass pre-defined levels of specific pollutants, making it safe for human consumption. These controlled pollutants include nitrates, pathogens, and heavy metals. All drinking water supplies must pass quality assurance tests routinely to be certified safe for drinking.
Governments of different levels, including local, territorial, and state governments, must provide service provision in Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory through water utilities owned by either government. The standard for water treatment is generally high due to regulations and frequent testing.
Tap water in Australia is safe to drink–but to an extent. Most professionals would say that public tap water is perfectly safe for consumption, but perfect is an all-encompassing term.
Australians always took great pride in their safe drinking water until 1998, when Sydney Water sent out an alert warning informing the public that its most extensive treatment plant contained dangerous parasites and was unsafe for consumption. While the issue was immediately addressed, the contamination’s source was never located, and the incident caused a public mistrust of tap water for drinking.
In addition, tap water in Brisbane and Australia is only monitored for 70 chemicals instead of the more than 300 known chemicals that may go undetected or unregulated in our tap water. For instance, microplastics are commonly found in tap water but are rarely regulated. Also, the maximum allowed limits of chemicals like lead, nitrates, chlorine, and THMs are set based on adults and children, but not infants and small children.
Testing is also carried out directly after water treatment, which means that buildings and neighborhoods with old and damaged pipes are unidentified. Plastics, copper, iron, lead, and biofilm could be in your lines without your knowledge.
Tap water is safe for consumption, but other factors aside from treatment and monitoring need to be considered. It can be safe, too, for adults, but not for infants and young children.
For added protection, it’s best to have a filter installed in your water systems to prevent unregulated chemicals from getting into your tap water.
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