Busselton Water takes the quality of our drinking water very seriously and achieves 100 per cent compliance with the stringent health and safety standards in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. If you have a question about how we protect the quality of Busselton’s water, explore the Frequently Asked Questions below or email us.
Water Quality FAQ's
What water does Busselton Water supply?
Busselton Water supplies potable (drinkable) water to households and businesses across the wider Busselton area through a managed network of 320 kilometres of pipeline. We also supply bulk water for use in Dunsborough and surrounding areas.
Where does our water come from?
Busselton Water sources the majority of its raw water from the deep, confined Yarragadee aquifer – a major freshwater resource for the south west of Western Australia. It runs beneath the Swan Coastal Plain west of the Darling Scarp, from Geraldton to the south coast. We also abstract a smaller amount of water from the base of the shallower Leederville aquifer.
Is our water treated before it is supplied to customers?
Yes. After being drawn from the aquifers, the water is filtered and treated at one of Busselton Water’s three local treatment plants.
How is the water treated?
Busselton Water uses a three-step process to treat raw water from the aquifer to produce safe drinking water. The water is oxidised and filtered to remove iron, manganese, turbidity and any other impurities, and then disinfected. This process ensures the water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines before being distributed to our customers.
Why does our water need treatment?
Raw groundwater can contain trace contaminants at levels above the drinking water guideline limits. Treatment lowers the level of contaminants to safe levels, while disinfection prevents waterborne pathogens occurring in the water supply at any point from the treatment plant to our customers’ water meters. A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.
Is our water safe to drink?
Absolutely. Busselton Water achieves 100 per cent compliance with all health-related water quality criteria in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which is endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Who regulates the quality of Busselton’s water?
The Department of Health regulates the quality of drinking water in Western Australia in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia’s public health policy peak organisation. These guidelines are designed to provide an authoritative reference on what defines safe, good quality water, how it can be achieved and how it can be assured.
How often is our water sampled and tested?
As part of our routine operations, Busselton Water systematically monitors and reports on our water quality performance, with water samples taken each and every week. In fact, each year more than 3,500 water quality samples are taken.
What is our water tested for?
The key areas that are monitored and tested are microorganism, chemical and radiation levels that are harmful to health. In addition, aesthetic characteristics that influence perceptions of taste are tested. These include alkalinity, aluminium, ammonia, calcium, chloride, colour, total dissolved solids, iron, magnesium, acidity, salinity, silica, sodium, sulphate, turbidity and zinc.
What is turbidity and how much is acceptable in drinking water?
Turbidity is the cloudy appearance of water caused by the presence of suspended matter. If present at high levels, turbidity can provide an environment which shields pathogens from disinfection. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines specify an aesthetic guideline of
5NTU (Nephelometric turbidity units) or, if disinfection is undertaken, less than 1NTU. In 2016-17, Busselton Water recorded a maximum of 0.6 NTU for its water samples.
What colour is our water meant to be?
Colour in water originates mainly from natural drainage through soil and vegetation in a surface catchment. Human perception of colour varies depending on the quantity
of water. Consequently the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines’ value for colour is based on what is noticeable in a glass of water and is generally accepted as 15HU (Hazen Units). The raw water we extract is 6HU, which reduces to zero (or totally clear) once treated.
How much iron is in our water?
Iron occurs naturally in water as a result of contact with soil or rock in the ground. Though the presence of iron does not present a health hazard, the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines recommend that, based on aesthetic considerations, the concentration of iron should not exceed 0.3 mg/L. In 2016-17, Busselton Water recorded a maximum of 0.096 mg/L in the water delivered to our customers.
What is manganese and how much is acceptable in our water?
Like iron, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral which comes from contact with soil or rock in the ground. Manganese is not considered a health concern unless the concentration exceeds 0.5mg/L. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines recommend that, based on aesthetic considerations, manganese should not exceed 0.1mg/L. In 2016-17, Busselton Water recorded a maximum of 0.006mg/L of manganese in the water delivered to customers.
How acidic is our water?
pH is a measure ranging from zero to 14 of how acidic or basic water is. A pH of seven is neutral. The aesthetic pH target from the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines
is between 6.5 and 8.5. The maximum recording of pH in 2016-17 by Busselton Water was 8.5.
How does Busselton Water prevent dangerous bacteria, viruses and other microbiological pathogens from being in our water?
To prevent pathogens from entering the drinking water network, Busselton Water applies a water quality management system with multiple barriers from the catchment to our customers’ taps. The first barrier is the controls used to protect the groundwater aquifer; the second is the treatment of raw water; and the third is disinfection using chlorine to kill pathogenic microorganisms that may still be present. Chlorination of water is safe and effective, and is used in all major Australian water supplies including Perth. It is used in line with the recommendations of the world’s foremost health authorities, including the National Health and Medical Research Council and the World Health Organisation. The level of chlorine is chosen to ensure this disinfecting barrier travels the full extent of the pipe network to each customer’s property.
Is there calcium in our water?
Yes. Calcium levels in water do not pose a health risk; in fact calcium uptake from various sources is typically beneficial. However, sunlight can interact with small amounts of calcium that are in the water and sometimes leave a slight stain on vehicles or elsewhere. We suggest washing your car undercover or in the shade to avoid this occurring, though stains can be easily removed by applying an equal mix of white vinegar and distilled water with a soft cloth.
What are Busselton Water’s commitments in relation to water quality?
The supply of safe, high quality, sustainable water to our customers is our highest priority. Our commitments in this area are clear. We will:
- supply water that is safe for you and your family to drink;
- continuously monitor and assess the quality of drinking water supplied;
- respond within one hour (or at an agreed time) to any reports of poor water quality;
- provide information through our website and social media of any planned changes to our system likely to affect the quality of the water we supply to you;
- advise you of any need to make alternative arrangements for drinking water in the unlikely event that your water quality deteriorates; and
- make water quality sample results available to our customers (via our website and by calling 9781 0500).
You can read more about Our Customer Commitments on our website.
Where can I read more about Busselton Water’s water quality?
Our annual Water Quality reports are provided in full in the publications section of our website.
Who can I contact if I am concerned about the quality of my water?
If you have any issues with your water supply or are concerned about any aspect of water quality, contact Busselton Water on 9781 0500.