Safe, high quality drinking water

City West Water provides some of the world’s best quality water to our customers throughout Melbourne’s CBD and inner and western suburbs.

Our drinking water is clean and safe, consistently meeting standards in Victoria’s Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and associated 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.

City West Water technician testing water samples.

Water sources

City West Water is supplied drinking water from our wholesaler, Melbourne Water, who is responsible for harvesting, storing, and treating water prior to its arrival in our system.

Our water supply comes from three large reservoirs – Silvan, Greenvale and Sugarloaf – that form a part of Melbourne’s overall, well established catchment and reservoir system. The result is a safe, clean and high quality drinking water supply that continues to meet the high standard for which Melbourne has been long renowned.

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


Water quality monitoring

In order to verify the high quality of the water supply, we arrange independent, day-to-day water sampling and testing at the supply points to some 460 properties throughout our licence area.

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



Details of the tests undertaken, together with actual test results, are presented in our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, which is published in mid-October. Reference to this document shows that the water quality more than meets required standards, as well as health related Australian drinking water quality guidelines.

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 the Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015 and is clear and free from objectionable taste and odour. If you do experience an issue with your drinking water, before you contact City West Water, please read the following frequently asked questions.

If the situation cannot be resolved from the FAQs, we recommend you contact us on 132 642.


Plumbing and fittings

City West Water is responsible for the water mains and the water meter that supply water to your property.

Property owners are responsible for the other pipes, taps and fittings inside their property. In some instances, metals including copper, lead and nickel can dissolve into drinking water from some plumbing fittings.

The installation of plumbing fittings in Victoria is overseen by plumbing regulatory agencies. Always use a licensed plumber when conducting works on your property. For more information and good practices for householders refer to enHealth Guidance Statement.


Check your Water FAQs

What does brown water look like?

Your tap water colour may range between 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 result from a build-up of natural sediments in the water pipes. Significant water flow changes in City West Water’s mains (for example, after a burst water main) can disturb the sediments, discolouring the water.

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?

Run your tap for about one minute. This should flush out any sediments. 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.

If the water does not clear, contact City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

How do I know if I have a white water quality issue?
Your tap water colour may range from 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 City West Water’s distribution mains following maintenance works OR 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?

Stand a glass of the cloudy water on a bench and observe the water for a minute or two. 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.

If the water does not clear, or the water does not clear from the bottom upwards, contact City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

How do I know if I have a water quality issue?

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 purposes of disinfection. 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 City West Water on 132 642 to obtain assurance and further clarification on chlorine levels in your area.

How do I know if I have a water quality issue?

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. These can include 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 City West Water on 132 642 for assistance.

How do I know if I have a blue-green water quality issue?

Your drinking water will 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?

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. City West Water can clarify these cases.

How do I address the issue?

You may require a plumber to fix this problem. Contact City West Water on 132 642 for information, advice and assistance.

How do I know if I have a blocked water filter issue?

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. As a result, the water naturally contains small quantities of generally invisible, fine, suspended particles.

The particles are harmless but nevertheless, over time, will accumulate on water filters and can be incorrectly perceived as poor quality drinking water.

The rate of particle accumulation on water filters varies, and can depend (for example) on filter pore size or particle content of the local supply, as well 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?

A number of residential customers choose to use water filters. However, given the compliance of City West Water’s water supply with Victoria’s drinking water standards and Australian drinking water quality guidelines, we do not believe there is a need to use domestic water filters.

In many cases, individual filter units have little effect on improving household water supply quality.
For instance, filters may be claimed 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 the purchase of a water filter should carefully evaluate their own needs as well as apparent benefits and relevance of individual units. City West Water neither undertakes nor approves of attempts to sell water filters on a “door to door” basis.

It should be noted, however, that there are situations (e.g. industrial applications, medical treatment) where the use of specific, purpose-built water filters is applicable.

Should you have concerns regarding premature filter blockage, contact City West Water (132 642) for information, advice and assistance.

How do I know if I have a pink staining issue?

You will see pink staining on surfaces that will be moist to the touch. These stains can develop in the shower (on and between tiles), the shower head, hand basin or toilet. The stain is removable, but can return within a matter of weeks.

What is it and how did it happen?

Pink staining is not due to water quality, but to naturally occurring airborne microbes that grow upon moist surfaces and create visible pink stains.

These airborne microbes are found naturally in soil and food. The microbes thrive on moisture, favouring humid conditions and less than well-cleaned surfaces.

Can I still drink my water?

Yes. Pink staining does not reflect the quality of your water.

How do I address the issue?

The best solution to minimise or prevent pink staining is to keep affected areas well ventilated, as well as surfaces dry and clean after use.

Using a cleaning solution that contains chlorine will help curtail onset of the staining. A toilet tablet that contains disinfectant can assist to control staining in the toilet bowl.

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