Safe, high quality drinking water

We provide some of the world’s best quality water to our customers.

Our drinking water is clean and safe. It also meets the standards in:

  • Victoria's Safe Drinking Water Act 2003
  • Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council) provide over 250 guidelines for water utilities to follow. The Guidelines are some of the strictest water quality guidelines in the world.

Water sources

Melbourne Water is the wholesaler who supplies our drinking water. They are responsible for harvesting, storing and treating water before it arrives in our system.
Our water supply comes from three large reservoirs:

These reservoirs form a part of Melbourne’s overall and well-established catchment and reservoir system.

You can learn more about Melbourne’s water catchments on Melbourne Water’s website.

Plumbing and fittings

We are responsible for the:

  • water mains
  • water meter that supply water to your property.

Property owners are responsible for the other:

  • pipes
  • taps
  • fittings inside their property.

The installation of plumbing fittings in Victoria is overseen by plumbing regulatory agencies. Always use a licensed plumber when conducting works on your property.

In some instances, metals including copper, lead and nickel can dissolve into drinking water from some plumbing fittings. For more information and good practices for householders refer to enHealth Guidance Statement.

Water quality monitoring and reporting

To maintain high quality water supply, we arrange independent, day-to-day water sampling and testing. Taking place at around 460 supply points throughout our service area.

Each year, over 3,000 microbiological and 800 physical/chemical samples are collected and tested. An independent, specialised laboratory (accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities) collects and tests on our behalf. 

We present the test results in our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, published annually in mid-October.

View our current Water Quality Report for more information, including more details on common water quality concerns.

Water quality issues

Our customers can expect drinking water that meets regulations that is clear and free from objectionable taste and odour. If you do experience an issue with your drinking water, before you contact Greater Western Water, please read the below frequently asked questions.

If your question is not answered in the FAQs, call us on 13 44 99.

Think you have a water fault?

If you’re experiencing a water fault learn more about how to report a fault and use our Faults and Outages Map.

Check your Water FAQs

Why does my water look brown?

Your tap water colour may be light yellow to a brown or muddy colour. If you use your washing machine, you may experience brown stains on clothes after a washing load.

What is it and how did it happen?

Brown water can be the result of:

  • build-up of natural sediments in the water pipes 
  • significant water flow changes in Greater Western Water’s mains can disturb the sediments and discolour the water (eg, after a burst water main)
  • if you are in an older property, brown water can be caused by the corrosion of your galvanised iron water pipes. Rust particles in the water make it brown.

Can I still drink my water?

We recommend waiting until the water is cleared before drinking it.

How do I address the issue?

  1. Run your tap for about one minute. This should flush out any sediments.
  2. If the water clears temporarily but then becomes brown again later, then it is likely to be your internal corroding galvanised-iron pipes. You may want to contact your local plumber to fix this problem.
  3. If the water does not clear, contact us on 13 44 99 for assistance.


Why does my water look milky white?

Your tap water colour may be a milky to a cloudy appearance.

What is it and how did it happen?

  • White water consists of very small air bubbles that can be caused by trapped air in Greater Western Water’s distribution mains following maintenance works
  • it could be a build-up of air in your hot water system.

Can I still drink my water?

While aerated water is safe to drink, you may wish to wait until the water is cleared before drinking it.

How do I address the issue?

  1. Stand a glass of the cloudy water on a bench and observe the water for a minute or two.
  2. If the water starts clearing from the bottom upwards then this shows the cause of the cloudiness to be aerated water, which is perfectly safe. There is no need to take further action. The cloudiness of the tap water will soon go away.
  3. If the water does not clear, or the water does not clear from the bottom upwards, contact us on 13 44 99 for assistance. 

Why does my water have a chlorine/bleach-like taste?

Your drinking water will have an odour or taste like chlorine or bleach, similar to that of a swimming pool.

What is it and how did it happen?

Chlorine is added to Melbourne’s drinking water supply for disinfection purposes. There can be a variation in the level of chlorine in tap water. This could be due to seasonal or daily changes in water demands or flow rates. Chlorine levels can also vary between different suburbs, depending on their proximity to where dosing takes place.

Can I still drink my water?

Chlorine levels and dosing are continuously monitored and strictly controlled. A small level of chlorine in your drinking water is not harmful. Even if your drinking water does have a chlorine smell, the water is still safe to drink.

How do I address the issue?

Contact us on 13 44 99 to obtain assurance and further clarification on chlorine levels in your area.

Why does my water smell strange (but not like chlorine)?

You will notice a change in the taste or odour of the water.

What is it and how did it happen?

A noticeable change in the taste or odour of tap water can have various causes, including:

  • the installation of new pipes
  • or water that has developed a stale taste after sitting within the pipes for long periods.

Can I still drink my water?

We recommend you wait until the water issue is resolved before you drink the water.

How do I address the issue?

  • Flush and run your tap for about one minute.
  • If the water taste or odour does not improve, contact us on 13 44 99 for assistance.

Why does my water look blue-green?

Your drinking water may have a blue-green tinge, with possibly blue-green particles in the water and a bitter or metallic taste to it.

What is it and how did it happen?

Blue-green water happens because of elevated levels of copper in the water. This copper comes from the internal corrosion of copper water pipes and fittings.

Can I still drink my water?

No. Blue green water should not be consumed. Drinking blue-green water can result in vomiting and adverse health effects.

The water in my bath looks blue – is this blue-green water?

Not necessarily. This can often be an optical effect rather than the presence of copper in the water. We can clarify these cases.

How do I address the issue?

You may require a plumber to fix this problem. Contact us on 13 44 99 for information, advice and assistance.

Why is my water filter blocked?

Your water filter has become blocked and is now restricting water flow.

What is it and how did it happen?

Melbourne’s water supply is largely unfiltered, resulting in natural small quantities of:

  • invisible particles
  • fine particles
  • suspended particles.

These particles are harmless. Over time they will accumulate on water filters and can be incorrectly perceived as poor-quality drinking water.

The rate of particle accumulation on water filters varies depending on:

  • filter pore size
  • particle content of the local supply
  • seasonal variations in microscopic, harmless algal populations that are naturally present in Melbourne’s reservoirs.

All water filters that trap and accumulate particles will eventually restrict water flows and become blocked.

How do I address the issue?

Many residential customers choose to use water filters. Given our compliance with drinking water standards and quality guidelines, we do not believe there is a need to use domestic water filters.

Often, individual filter units have little effect on improving household water supply quality. For instance, filters may claim to remove substances that in fact are not even present to any significant degree in our water supply. In some cases filter units can actually cause a deterioration of water quality.

Customers considering using a water filter should evaluate their own needs before installing a filter. We understand there are situations (eg, industrial application, medical treatments) where using water filters is applicable.

Please note, Greater Western Water doesn't sell water filters on a “door to door” basis.

Should you have concerns about premature filter blockage, call us on 13 44 99 for information, advice and assistance.

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