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.
- Proserpine Scheme services Proserpine and Mt Julian communities.
- Coastal Scheme services Cannonvale, Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket and Shute Harbour communities.
- Bowen scheme services Bowen, Brisk Bay and Merinda communities.
- Collinsville Scheme services Collinsville and Scottville communities.
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.
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.
- 2014 - 2015 DWQMP Annual Report
- 2015 - 2016 DWQMP Annual Report
- 2016 - 2017 DWQMP Annual Report
- 2017 - 2018 DWQMP Annual Report
- 2018 - 2019 DWQMP Annual Report
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:
- EPBC Condition Status Report - Cannonvale Sewage Treatment Plant
- EPBC Condition Status Report - Proserpine Sewage Treatment Plant
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: