Drinking Water

Old Jun 19th 2002, 9:43 am
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Default Drinking Water

I gather that Australia, in general, has a shortage of water and they adopt recycling methods for watering the lawns/gardens etc.

Just wondering - Under such circumstances, how about drinking water? Is the tap water supplied by the water supply department (in cities like Melbourne and Sydney), safe to drink? Or do the people go for bottled water, as a practice? I was looking up the WHO site for some info but couldn't find any. I know that WHO certify the water qaulity around the world, as safe or otherwise.

Thanks for any input.

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Old Jun 19th 2002, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Drinking Water

Thomas

The tap water in Sydney is fine to drink.

Some people prefer to buy bottled water, but thats more a taste issue than a safety one.

The tap water has not recycled, any more than all water on earth has been recycled over the last few billion years.

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Old Jun 19th 2002, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: Drinking Water

Zena, you're expert enough for me on Sydney water, but I got the gist of the question as meaning 'is the water recycled several times or is it "use and lose", ie waste water goes out to sea after filtering?'.

I think it's a legitimate concern. Many scientists consider that London water, for example, may be '7 times used', ie recycled several times before it goes out to sea. The chief worry is that undesirables such as the hormones in contraceptives (flushed down the loo) are not effectively removed before the water is reused and this might have something to do with lower sperm counts etc.

Do you have any info on this re Sydney's water policies?

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Old Jun 19th 2002, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Drinking Water

To answer your question 'is the water recycled several times or is it "use and lose", ie waste water goes out to sea after filtering?'...

To the best of my knowledge, the water is only used once- ie after treatment used water is discharge to sea- or river for inland treatment facilities. I don't remember any water supply originating upstream of a river discharge point.

I agree its a legitimate concern- and I had no idea that London re-used water to that extent! I'm an environmental engineer, and worked in Sydney for a consulting firm which did hydraulic modelling (sewer and stormwater) for Sydney Water (amongst others). Its been a few years, but don't think they've changed much. If you want more info, try the Sydney Water Corporation website.

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Old Jun 20th 2002, 2:20 am
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Default Re: Drinking Water

There is virtually NO recycled water for human consumption in Australia at all, in
particular I am speaking of tap water, there are a number of recycling programs
whereby the recycled water is used for industry, crops etc.....hope this clarifies
the situation for you

Rob

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    > To answer your question 'is the water recycled several times or is it
 
Old Jun 20th 2002, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Drinking Water

I guess your supply of drinking water depends on how remote you live from the big cities. My sister used to live in Bunbury (south of Perth) and had mains water with a separate bore water supply for the garden/car-washing. Now she has moved into her boyfriend's place in a small community nearby with a population of just 200. This is where we'll be staying upon arrival next month. This is what she wrote in her last email to me:

" Plus I'll warn you about the water cause at the moment the
towns of Myalup and Binningup aren't on scheme water, this is happening next year so at Myalup we've got bore water which sometimes is the colour of urine. I've probably put you off now. Bore water gets pumped up from the ground and goes into big water tanks, it then gets treated. We don't drink it though. We also rely on rain water which goes straight into the water tanks. "

Looks like we'll be investing heavily in bottled water!

On a similar note, I'm hoping we won't get limescale problems like we do here, is the tapwater in Australia "soft" does anyone know?
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Old Jun 20th 2002, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Drinking Water

Hello Again

I grew up in a fairly remote country area of NSW, and we relied on rainwater tanks for all our water requirements. Rainwater actually tastes fantastic- as good as any bottled water- provided you keep the tank clean. Its free, very soft, and doesn't have that chlorine smell you sometimes get with treated mains water. Of course you need to be careful about conserving water- no dripping taps, don't leave taps running while you brush your teath and no fixed sprinkler systems- but on the whole it isn't a problem. During droughts we had to buy water, a tanker delivered a couple of thousand gallons for about $100- In 10 years of living with a rainwater tank we only had to do this a few times.

Bore water on the other hand is usually disgusting, and only really good for watering the garden and flushing the toilet.

Since I moved away from the area, the council has connected the area to the local mains supply. This move was opposed by the residents, who didn't want the mains water supply for both personal and conservation reasons. The lack of water supply prevent large scale development of an idyllic coastal area. I barely recognise my hometown now.

Some regions of Australia have hard water, some soft. Its depends on the local geology. Sydney water is pretty average.

Sorry, I don't mean to be the expert on water in Australia!!

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Zena
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Old Jun 20th 2002, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Drinking Water

I don't think you need to apologise Zena, news groups are a great way of imparting
and receiving information so a host of experiences helps to build the total picture.
Rob "Zena" <[email protected]> wrote in message
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    > Hello Again
 
Old Jun 21st 2002, 1:20 am
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Default Re: Drinking Water

"Jacqui" <[email protected]> wrote

<snip>
    > " Plus I'll warn you about the water cause at the moment the towns of Myalup
    > and Binningup aren't on scheme water, this is happening next year so at Myalup
    > we've got bore water which sometimes is the colour of urine. I've probably put
    > you off now.

Um ... yep, it's put me off. But if it's just going onto the garden, it's not a
big deal. Friends of ours in an eastern suburb of Perth have a bore and the water
smells like rotten eggs. They have to close all their windows while their
reticulation (auto sprinkler system) is running. Then you've got the rust red
staining on footpaths and tree trunks that many other areas get because of the high
iron content in their bore water. It varies from area to area, even house to house.
Neighbours up the road have almost perfect water, no sulphur, no iron, clear colour.
Our next door neighbour tests water and soil for a living and he says some are lucky
enough to have water that is good enough to drink, so a bore in that case turns out
to be a godsend.

    > Bore water gets pumped up from the ground and goes into big water tanks, it then
    > gets treated. We don't drink it though. We also rely on rain water which goes
    > straight into the water tanks. "

Smart idea, water tanks. But some councils around Perth aren't all that smart,
charging a rather hefty fee for putting even a small one in. They don't even come
around to check that it's installed properly. They just want a pile of money for you
trying to do the right thing. And until recently it was actually illegal to use grey
water in the garden. I believe they've relaxed that somewhat but only after it got
desperate this past summer. Perth has to get much smarter about water.

    > Looks like we'll be investing heavily in bottled water!

Lots of those services around. In Perth here, we use tap water for drinking but run
it through a Brita filter since I find it smells and tastes off. I got spoiled living
in Vancouver which has fabulous tap water. I drink water like a fish so when I got
back to Perth, that was one of the disappointments - not being able to drink straight
out of the tap.

    > On a similar note, I'm hoping we won't get limescale problems like we do here, is
    > the tapwater in Australia "soft" does anyone know?

Is that where you get water spots on glass and stainless steel? If so, yes, it's a
problem. Shower doors are a pain to clean. You have to do it very often, almost after
every shower because the spots are hard to get off. And stainless steel sinks look
pretty grotty if you don't sponge off all water after use.

Whinge, whinge, whinge If that's all we have to worry about, then life's
not too bad.

Good luck,

Helena
 

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