Monitoring water quality across the state.

Water quality monitoring and management

In Greater Sydney and Regional NSW.

The raw water we supply comes from rivers and lakes, where quality can vary at times as these are natural environments. Raw water quality can be impacted by natural events such as rainfall, drought and biological organisms such as algae. Runoff from rain events can wash leaves, dirt and other debris into river systems and our lakes, and can change water quality, including the colour and odour of the water. It also increases nutrients in the water, which can encourage the growth of blue-green algae.

In the Fish River Water Supply system, WaterNSW operates the Duckmaloi Water Filtration Plant that supplies treated drinking water to parts of the Lithgow Local Government Area. WaterNSW manages this supply in accordance with The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

In regional NSW, we monitor overall river and waterway health, along with testing for blue green algae. We issue alerts when blue green algae is detected.

The raw water we supply in regional NSW is used directly for farming and irrigation purposes, or is supplied to councils and water utilities for treatment into drinking water.

In Greater Sydney, where we are responsible for delivering the raw water that becomes Sydney’s drinking water supply, we have an extensive monitoring program to ensure the best quality raw water is delivered to Sydney Water for treatment.

WaterNSW tests water in the lakes, rivers and the delivery network. This testing allows us to monitor what is happening across the system and determine where the best quality water is located in our lakes. This water is then supplied to Sydney Water, for treatment into Sydney's drinking water.

WaterNSW is also responsible for Sydney's drinking water declared catchment areas. This enables us to help protect the quality of the water entering our Greater Sydney lakes from pollutants and excessive sediment and debris. Declared Special Areas around our lakes provide a buffer from pollutants resulting from human activities and changes in land use.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) apply to any water intended for drinking, such as the water supplied in Greater Sydney. The ADWG framework for managing drinking water quality advocates risk management and preventive measures at all barriers from catchment to consumer. Drinking water supplied by WaterNSW is tested to comply with ADWG health guidelines.

Raw water supplied for treatment is managed to enable customers such as Sydney Water to treat the water to meet ADWG health guidelines. This means that for certain substances, including metals, pesticides and synthetic organic compounds, raw water must conform to the ADWG, making prevention and monitoring essential.

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more