What is the problem with tap water?

 

As Australian tap water makes its way through the catchment and distribution system, it meets many contaminants: livestock waste, fertilisers and pesticides from agriculture and industry, chemical run-off from industry, heavy metals from mining, and the waste from our own cities. Fortunately the tap water is ‘purified’ before it is finally sent to your tap, but what does this really mean?

In many respects Australian tap water is very good. All water regulators in Australia must adhere to guidelines laid down by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The latest set of guidelines is available to the consumer in the document Water Made Clear: A Consumer Guide to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004. At first glance, the safety standards seem quite adequate. Municipal water is monitored for 70 different contaminants, including cryptosporidium, bacteria and some pesticides.

What is the problem with tap water? As Australian tap water makes its way through the catchment and distribution system, it meets many contaminants: livestock waste, fertilisers and pesticides from agriculture and industry, chemical run-off from industry, heavy metals from mining, and the waste from our own cities. Fortunately the tap water is ‘purified’ before it is finally sent to your tap, but what does this really mean?

In many respects Australian tap water is very good. All water regulators in Australia must adhere to guidelines laid down by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The latest set of guidelines is available to the consumer in the document Water Made Clear: A Consumer Guide to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2004. At first glance, the safety standards seem quite adequate. Municipal water is monitored for 70 different contaminants, including cryptosporidium, bacteria and some pesticides.