Responding to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Yarra Valley Water has a strong response in place for managing the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure we continue to provide essential water and sewerage services for our customers.
We’re continually monitoring the spread and impact of coronavirus and you can read more about our planning and actions here. You will also find answers to some frequently asked questions at the bottom of this page.
Working COVIDSafe to provide essential services
We deliver essential water and sewerage services to keep water flowing and toilets flushing in our service area.
Our staff and contractors practise safe physical distancing and good hand hygiene, and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
We work in line with the most recent State Government advice and amend works where necessary.
Victoria's water is safe to drink and use
There is no evidence that drinking water will be affected by coronavirus or that it's transmitted by drinking water.
Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services regulates the safety of drinking water under a comprehensive regulatory framework that aims to ensure a consistent, reliable supply of safe, good quality drinking water.
Information on drinking water and public health is available on the Victoria Health website.
If you are experiencing financial pressure
If you’re concerned about being unable to pay your bills, we're here to help.
We can offer extra support and flexibility to suit your situation. Give us a call on 1800 994 789 for a confidential chat or take a look at options available.
Are you running a business?
We understand some business customers may be financially impacted by coronavirus. If you are having trouble paying your bill, we can offer extra support and flexibility to suit your situation.
To find out if you are eligible for government business support or grants, visit Business Victoria's coronavirus (COVID-19) support page.
Managing interruptions to your water supply
We may need to interrupt your water supply to perform emergency repairs and critical preventative maintenance. We will put a tap on the hydrant in affected streets so customers can access water during the interruption, and we can provide bottled water where needed.
Contacting our office
At Yarra Valley Water we care deeply about our customers, staff, partners and our community.
Our Reception service in Lucknow Street, Mitcham is open for face-to-face interactions.
How you can reach us:
- Our Customer Care team can be contacted on 1300 853 811, Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm.
- Faults and emergencies can be reported 24 hours a day on 13 27 62.
- Our reception can be contacted on 9872 1699.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Yarra Valley Water doing in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency?
Yarra Valley Water is responding to the spread of the coronavirus here in Victoria and beyond, to ensure we protect the health of our staff, contractors, customers and visitors, and continue to provide the essential service our community relies on.
Our staff are working from home where possible and we will continue to provide all elements of our service to deliver safe and reliable water and sanitation services. We will work with customers and community to ensure issues continue to be dealt with in a timely way.
Can I catch coronavirus from drinking water?
There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted by drinking water. The current evidence is that coronavirus is most likely transmitted from person-to-person by sneezing and coughing. Drinking water in Australia is high quality and is well treated. There is no evidence that drinking water will be affected by coronavirus.
Should I buy bottled water?
There is no need to buy bottled water for drinking. Safe, clean tap water will continue to be supplied directly to your home every day.
How is Yarra Valley Water protecting the water supply?
Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water have stringent hygiene measures in place at water treatment plants. In addition, there is almost no human contact in the process of treating water for drinking. Existing water treatment and disinfection processes, including use of chlorine, are effective in removing viruses from water supplies.
What if workers are quarantined at home, will water still be supplied?
Water is an essential service and we are well prepared to manage our response to coronavirus. We have emergency response plans in place that we regularly update. In general, water treatment plants are secure, have back up power and require few staff to operate them and some water treatment plants can be operated remotely.
Should I flush taps in my property if it has been closed due to restrictions?
We understand a number of buildings have been closed during periods of restrictions, including holiday houses and commercial buildings.
If drinking water taps haven’t been used for extended periods of time, this may result in stagnant water in your pipes.
Running taps for at least two minutes is a good idea to reduce the potential for water quality issues.
What can happen when taps haven’t been used for extended periods of time?
- Water sitting in internal pipes can stagnate, resulting in an unpleasant taste and/or odour, or a change in colour.
- Water sitting in internal pipes can also result in pipe material leaching into the water. For instance, blue water can indicate elevated copper levels in the water.
- Stagnant water shouldn’t be consumed or used to prepare food, as it may contain concentrations of metals above the Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines 2011, which can cause illness.
How can I reduce potential water quality issues at my building?
As stagnant water occurs when taps that haven’t been used for a number of days, we recommend you run internal taps for at least two minutes before they are used for drinking or food preparation purposes. You may need to run some taps for longer, particularly taps located far away from the water main in the street.
If stagnant water persists, including blue water, you may need to relocate taps and/or use other plumbing materials. A licensed plumber should be engaged to investigate the issue.
For more information and advice, please call us on 13 2762.
Does the sewerage system pose a bigger risk for spreading coronavirus?
We treat wastewater to a high standard and take necessary precautions in safely carrying sewage away via our underground pipe network.
There is no evidence that coronavirus has been transmitted to people via wastewater systems. Faeces and raw sewage pose a range of health risks and should only be handled with appropriate protective clothing. Areas impacted by faeces and raw sewage should be cleaned down and disinfected to reduce these health risks.
How can I help to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The Australian Department of Health advises that practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. Good practice is:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cover coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- and if unwell, avoid contact with others.
You can get more information from www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au
I have been asked to self-isolate, do you need to know this?
Yes, it is very important that we know this information as it helps our staff and contractors take necessary precautions if they need to come to your house/property. This lets us play our part in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
We will use the information to place a temporary flag in our systems, which tells our field staff they need to make a different type of risk assessment if they need to work at your property. The flag will be taken off after the self-isolation period has passed.
How will your staff carry out work at my property if I’m self-isolating?
A lot of work can be performed without coming on to your property. If we can do the work without accessing your property we will do that. If we do need to access your property or your home our team will assess whether the work is urgent or whether it can be deferred. Where the work can be deferred until you are no longer self-isolating, we will do that. If it is urgent our team will assess whether they can do the work safely using protective clothing. We will keep you informed about our assessment and next steps.
I don’t have any toilet paper as it has all been sold. What can I flush down the loo?
We understand it is a complex time and can be hard to get hold of toilet paper. The only things that can be safely flushed down the toilet are pee, poo and paper. Tissues, hand towel and wipes need to be put in the bin.
If things other than pee, poo and paper are flushed it can lead to expensive blockages in internal plumbing and our sewer pipes, which can then lead to sewer spills.
Supermarkets are continuously restocking, so you will be able to get toilet paper soon.
Why is Yarra Valley Water still carrying out planned (non-emergency) works?
We’re continuing to deliver essential services to the community, including the planned maintenance of our water and sewer pipes. This keeps our water and sewer network functioning efficiently and it would be detrimental to the network and the contractors we employ to stop doing this work. We care deeply about the health and safety of our customers and community and we always work to keep water interruptions to a minimum.
With the heightened focus on hygiene and handwashing due to coronavirus, customers can be assured that wherever we need to turn water off, we will provide access to water from an alternative source.
How do I access water during planned (non-emergency) works?
We give our customers seven days’ notice when we need to interrupt their water supply to do planned maintenance, giving you time to organise extra containers or bottles of water to cover the period when the water is temporarily off – which is within a four to five hour window, and is usually a shorter interruption than this. We also put a tap on the hydrant in affected streets so customers can access water during the interruption, and we provide bottled water where needed.
We take the health and wellbeing of our staff and all our Customers seriously. We are continuously reviewing the evolving coronavirus situation and will modify our response accordingly, taking direction from Australian Government agencies and associated Health organisations. We thank you for your understanding and are committed to providing you with updated information.
We encourage you to follow the instructions and recommendations by the State Government on coronavirus (COVID-19) to get the most up to date information.
The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has also developed a fact sheet to provide facts about drinking water services and coronavirus (COVID-19).