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Melbourne's water supply

The water that you drink, wash in and water your garden with begins as rain and it probably fell a long way away from your home.

The rain that falls in our catchment areas runs into one of Melbourne’s ten reservoirs that hold our water supply.

All of Melbourne’s reservoirs are in protected areas to ensure that our water supply is not polluted or contaminated, so there is no swimming, boating or fishing allowed. This means that Melbourne has some of the best drinking water in the world!

The water can sit in a reservoir for 5 years or more, which means that it can be naturally filtered and cleaned before being pumped to a filtration plant.

Once in the filtration plant a tiny bit of chlorine is added to the water. The chlorine helps to kill any germs that may be in the water and makes sure we don’t get sick. The amount of chlorine added is equal to less than half a tea cup in an average size swimming pool.

Fluoride is also added to our drinking water, by law. Fluoride helps to keep our teeth healthy and strong. The amount of fluoride added is equal to one grain of sugar in a cup of water. Once the water is clean and ready for use, it is pumped through mains to our homes and businesses, so that when we turn on the tap, fresh, clean water comes out!

Definitions

  • Filtration plant – where water is treated to make sure it is clean and safe to drink
  • Chlorine – a chemical added to our drinking water to kill any germs
  • Fluoride – a chemical added to our drinking water to keep our teeth strong and healthy
  • Mains – pipes for water distribution