Water Treatment and Supply

  • What is potable water?

    Potable water is water that is fit for consumption by humans and animals. It is also called drinking water, in reference to its intended use. The quality of potable water is tested by qualified personnel to ensure that there are no harmful organisms present that may be potentially harmful if consumed.

    What is non-potable water?

    Water that contains pathogenic microorganisms or toxic substances above the levels recommended by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines is unsafe to drink and therefore is non-potable water. The consumption of non-potable water by humans may cause serious illness or death.

    Is bore water or tank water safe to drink?

    The potability of any type of water can only be determined by bacteriological and chemical testing. In our regional area, there are households that use water from rain water tanks or bore water for drinking, cooking, showering and other household chores.

    Whilst individuals with strong immune systems may be able to ingest untreated tank water or bore water without becoming sick, immunocompromised individuals, children and elderly people are at high risk of getting ill by drinking untreated water.

    What are the possible causes of bore water or tank water contamination?

    The water in a rain water tank can be contaminated with pathogens from wild life droppings that can be on the rain water collection surfaces. The bore water can be contaminated with pathogenic organisms from household sewage leachate reaching the ground water table where the bore water is extracted.

    Where can I test the potability of water?

    Our water and waste testing services can test any water sample for bacterial and chemical contamination. Alternatively, the water samples can be sent to the water testing laboratories in Mackay or Townsville.

  • What is involved in the water treatment process?

    The water treatment process is designed to remove most contaminants from the untreated water to produce potable (drinking) water that meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 – Updated March 2015.

    The water is extracted from bores or the river and treated to remove suspended solids, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi and minerals, such as iron and manganese. The treated water is then disinfected with chlorine (sodium hypochlorite).

    What happens after the water is treated?

    The disinfected potable water is pumped via truck mains and distribution systems to households and businesses. The potability of the water is continually monitored via the SCADA monitoring system. The treated water undergoes a testing regime designed to ensure potability of the supplied water, as described in our Drinking Water Management Plan approved by the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply. Measures are taken to ensure water potability throughout the entire water distribution system.

    What is the Treated Water Quality in my area?

    We provide drinking (potable) water to customers in 4 schemes – Proserpine, Coastal, Bowen and Collinsville, through a separate business unit – Whitsunday Water.

    Each scheme consists of a Water Treatment Plant, a series of storage reservoirs and a distribution network.  As each Water Treatment Plant is different, the water quality in each scheme is slightly different, although all within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.  The variability of water quality within the scheme (e.g. between Cannonvale and Jubilee Pocket) is minimal.  The links above contain a summary of water quality in your scheme.

  • The 2020-2025 Whitsunday Regional Water and Waste Customer Service Standards have been endorsed for public release.

    View the Whitsunday Regional Water and Waste Customer Service Standards.

  • Drinking Water Quality Management Plan Report

    A drinking water quality management plan (DWQMP) is a regulated risk management framework to ensure the safety of customers of drinking water Service Providers (SPs). All registered SPs suppling drinking water in Queensland are requires to have an approved DWQMP in place. DWQMPs are prepared by the SPs and approved by the regulator, Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS).

    Approved plans are required to be regularly reviewed and audited. Annual reports summarising the implementation of their DWQMP are provided to the regulator.

    Annual Reports

    Environmental Monitoring

    The effluent quality characteristics that the new sewage treatment facilities are required to meet were agreed with the relevant state and federal authorities and are aimed at minimising our environmental impact, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    Read information regarding the Effluent Licence Limits.

    We are required to report the results achieved against these limits. View the most recent reports below:

    Swim Reporting

    The Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2014 includes a number of reporting requirements and dates. Reporting on specified water and performance indicators is also required under legislation by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Meteorology and the National Water Accounting Framework.

    Each year Service Providers (SPs) must collate and supply significant volumes of data on water and sewerage services to numerous State and Commonwealth agencies such as the Queensland Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy (DNRME). The Statewide Water Information Management (SWIM) project was created in 2006 by Qldwater (Queensland Water Directorate) to simplify reporting of specified water and performance indicators. Queensland SPs are required to report through the National Performance Reporting (NPR) Framework.

    View the most recent reports below:

  • Declared Water Service Area

    Declared Sewer Service Area

    Council is a Water Service Provider under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act (the Act). The Act allows Council to declare a service area such that any property owner within that declared area can reasonably expect to be able to connect to the service.

Recycled Water

  • Recycled water is treated effluent – a product of the wastewater treatment process that includes a state of the art treatment approach to remove pathogens and other contaminants so that we can re-use the valuable water to irrigate our public spaces.

    Sewerage is everything that is washed down the kitchen, laundry and bathroom sinks as well as the toilet.  After being piped through the sewerage network to sewage or wastewater treatment plants, the sewerage is “cleaned” by various processes to become effluent.  Lastly it is disinfected to meet a specific Class quality to within standards set by the State Government.

  • Recycled Water is ‘a valuable resource that should not be wasted and which can be used in a safe and sustainable manner to reduce pressures on limited drinking water resources’ (Rathjen et al 2003).

    Another advantage of recycled water is that it can reduce discharge of effluent into receiving waters, including the Great Barrier Reef.

    Using recycled water generates substantial cost and energy savings over the long term by over $250k per annum in operational costs and reducing expensive infrastructure upgrades.

  • Yes! 

    When used correctly, recycled water is safe for all approved users. Appropriate precautions must be considered when using recycled water.

    Customers must use recycled water in accordance with the terms and conditions of their specific recycled water supply agreement.

    Recycled water is produced and monitored to meet quality guidelines set by the Government.

    • Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, Administered by the State Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
    • Public Health Regulation 2005 (under the Public Health Act)
    • Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1) 2006

    Irrigation occurs only when controls are in place to ensure public safety, including

    • no irrigation if raining to avoid pondage
    • timed irrigation to ensure absorption before use
    • All areas using recycled water will be clearly marked with signage stating the use of recycled water
    • Complete isolation from potable water system (no connection)
    • Internal infrastructure must be compliant with relevant codes (i.e. AS1345 – 1995 - lilac color, lockable taps)
  • Sustainable use of recycled water is based on three main principles

    • Protection of public and environmental health is of paramount importance and should never be compromised
    • Protection of public and environmental health depends on implementing a preventative risk management approach
    • Application of preventative measures and requirements for water quality should be commensurate with the source of recycled water and the intended uses.
  • Bowen Recycled Water Scheme

    Bowen has our Region’s most advanced recycled water network, following the $32M Greening and Growing Bowen project completed 2019 – 2020.  Check out the Greening and Growing Bowen video and Fact Sheet for more information about recycled water.

    We currently have recycled water at the golf course, cemetery and Mullers Lagoon parkland. Hansen and Case Parks will be connected 1 July 2024. Futures spaces may include Denison Park and Henry Darwen Park.

    Cannonvale Recycled Water Scheme

    Recycled water for the Cannonvale area is in our 10 year plan.

    This includes opportunistic use of recycled water on green spaces in Airlie Beach and Cannonvale and possibly piping recycled water towards Proserpine for use on sugar cane crops.

    Collinsville Recycled Water Scheme

    96% of effluent produced at Collinsville STP is used by the Golf Club for irrigation under a third party agreement.

    Proserpine Recycled Water Scheme

    Under negotiations to provide recycled water for irrigation of sugar cane and coffee crops.

    In the future, we will seek to expand and enhance our recycled water network across all towns as we invest in upgrades to our wastewater treatment plants and associated recycled water networks.