Summer Sun & Algae Thrives: Water Is Safe To Drink

Monday, January 5th, 2015

In summer, South Gippsland Water often receives calls from customers regarding the taste and smell of water. Many of our dams and reservoirs are seasonally affected by the growth of algae which thrives in warm sunny conditions and when water in the catchment has high nutrient levels. Customers will notice that the taste of the water changes during summer when there is less fresh cool water entering reservoirs and increased sunshine for algae to grow and thrive upon.

There are many varieties of algae and any algae bloom that occurs within a water supply system is managed to ensure water supplied to customers is safe to drink. Human senses are very sensitive to the taste and smell that algae produce. Algae can give off a musty and muddy taste and odour. When algae are present in reservoirs, South Gippsland Water activates increased monitoring and treatment processes to remove it, however, due to human sensitivity (some algae can be tasted at 1 part per billion, i.e. a single drop in an Olympic sized swimming pool!) not all the taste or smell can be removed.

Managing Director South Gipppsland Water, Philippe du Plessis, said today, “Some of our systems that are currently affected by algae include, Lance Creek (Wonthaggi, Cape Paterson and Inverloch), Korumburra and Foster. Customers should rest assured; the water is safe to drink. The algae bloom is being managed and increased treatment processes ensure that water is safe to drink. There is no need to boil water and the water can be safely consumed and used for showering, cooking and washing dishes”.

Unlike water supplied to Melbourne homes, South Gippsland Water’s catchment areas (the land that feeds the rivers and creeks) are open catchments, meaning they are not protected and are subject to various land uses including urban development, farms, forestry and other industry. As a result, South Gippsland Water works with local landowners to assist in protecting source water within catchments.

A safe and reliable water supply begins in our catchments. The quality of the water flowing into rivers and stored in our dams greatly affects the quality and cost of water delivered to the community.

Any customers who have questions or concerns regarding their water supply can contact South Gippsland Water’s friendly Customer Service Team on 1300 851 636.