Drinking Water Quality

Australia: State of the Environment Technical Paper Series (Inland Waters), Series 1
William Maher, Ian Lawrence and Andrew Wade
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1997
ISBN 0 642 25273 4

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About the Technical Paper

This paper reports possible water quality indicators for Australian water supplies which can be measured and used in national State of the Environment reporting. Indicators need to describe the quality of natural waters harvested and the quality of water supplied to the consumer at the tap.

The process of identifying appropriate indicators to measure the current status of, and future trends in, Australian drinking water first involves recognising potential water quality problems. The approach adopted for selecting indicators included the identification of potential problems. The indicators selected are representative of health, aesthetic and amenity values which are commonly measured.

It is also recommended that attention be given to settlement type, including metropolitan areas, large cities, rural areas and remote communities when reporting the status of drinking water. This will allow the identification of regional water quality problems.

To facilitate future State of the Environment reporting for different geographical and demographic areas, a classification scheme ranking the microbial, chemical and aesthetic quality of supplies as poor, satisfactory or excellent is proposed.