Being in Australia, and particularly Melbourne, we’re pretty lucky that we have tap water of exceptional quality. But where does our fantastic tap water come from? Today’s article will be taking a look at Melbourne’s tap water catchments, reservoirs treatment facilities and the corporations that supply it.


Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water is the statutory authority that protects and manages our major water resources to ensure we have high-quality water. They are responsible for treating, filtering and selling water to the three retail corporations that, in turn, supply water to Melbourne’s households and citizens. Melbourne Water is also responsible for managing and maintaining waterways and sewerage.


Protected and open catchments

The majority of Melbourne’s water is sourced from protected catchments. These catchments have limited public access which greatly reduces the amount of pollution that ends up there. A lot of our catchments are located in the Yarra Ranges where the native forests act as a filter. The remarkable, undisturbed land and soil hold the rainwater and slowly release it into our water reservoirs.

Because of this – the water predominantly only needs to be disinfected. Additionally, the minimal amount of treatment results in more affordable and natural water. Not all of our catchments are protected, though, and some of them require extra filtering and treatment before they can be sold to a water retail corporation.


The ten reservoirs

It’s important to note that just because the majority of the catchments are located in the Yarra Ranges, it doesn’t mean the reservoirs are also in the same area. Whilst there are a few in the Yarra Rangers, there are others spread out across Melbourne and the catchments feed into them via pipelines and aqueducts. There is a total of ten water storage reservoirs around Melbourne:

  1. Greenvale
  2. Yan Yean
  3. Sugarloaf
  4. Maroondah
  5. O’Shannassy
  6. Upper Yarra
  7. Thomson
  8. Tarago
  9. Silvan
  10. Cardinia

The Maroondah, Upper Yarra, Thomson, O’Shannassy, Silvan and Cardinia reservoirs receive water from protected catchment areas – so they require little treatment since they’re closed-off to human and agricultural activity. Reservoirs such as Yan Yean and Sugarloaf receive water from unprotected catchments, however. This ultimately makes the water coming from those reservoirs more expensive.


The big three

Three water corporations purchase water from Melbourne Water and distribute it to the various metropolitan regions.

  • Yarra Valley Water handle the northern and north-eastern suburbs from Wallan to Warburton and encompass 4000 square kilometres area.
  • South East Water is responsible for Melbourne’s southern and south-eastern suburbs. Their jurisdiction ranges from Port Melbourne down to Portsea and then across to 30 kilometres east of Pakenham – making up a total of 3640 square kilometres.
  • City West Water takes up the smallest area of Melbourne handling Melbourne’s western suburbs, inner-city and CBD districts.

Just like from catchments to reservoirs, intricate pipelines and aqueducts transport water from the various reservoirs and treatment facilities to the three corporations which in turn redistribute the water to the people in their areas.


Treatment facilities

There are two major water treatment facilities in Melbourne – Winneke and Tarago. Winneke was built in 1980 at the Sugarloaf Reservoir and provides approximately a quarter of Melbourne’s drinking water. It was the first plant in Melbourne to supply fully treated water. Some of the treatment processes include filtration, coagulation, clarification and the chemical addition for fluoridation, chlorination and pH correction.

The latter opened 29 years later and is located in Drouin West with the intent of reconnecting Tarago Reservoir to Melbourne’s water supply network during the Millennium Drought. It is a gravity-fed plant and offers a few more treatment processes such as Dissolved Air Flotation and Filtration (DAFF), permanganate pre-dosing and UV irradiation – as well as coagulation and the chemical addition for chlorination, pH correction and fluoridation.


Do you require a plumber in Cremorne?

We’re very lucky to have high-quality drinking water, so don’t let issues with your home’s plumbing ruin the experience for you. At JPG Plumbing, we pride ourselves on the premium plumbing work we perform and can ensure that all your plumbing is up-to-code and fitted to last. If you require plumbing work done – you can count on our plumbers in Cremorne.

Give us a call today on 0400 978 442 or fill out the contact form on our website to find out more.