Water quality is one of the most fundamental and challenging issues facing our nation, and our citizens need to be confident in their drinking water.
To achieve this, the Federal Government has set standards to ensure that the health and safety of people and communities is maintained.
These standards can be found in the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Drinking Water Protection and Enforcement Act, and the Safe Water Drinking Act.
In 2017, the Department of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Australian National University conducted a public health assessment of the water quality and water quality standards of Australia’s water systems, and released their report in December 2018.
The report recommends a water quality standard for each of the country’s drinking water systems that is set out in an inter-agency framework, and that the standard be implemented in the areas of drinking water and drinking water treatment, as well as in the water systems of Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions.
It also identifies water quality management actions to be taken to ensure safe water quality, including the establishment of an independent regulatory body and the establishment and maintenance of national drinking water quality databases.
As part of its response to the 2018 report, the Government has developed a draft drinking water standard.
The draft drinking-water standard provides for the use of a water standard in the context of a national standard and in the case of a drinking-pool standard in each State and territory.
This means that water quality can be assessed and regulated by the water authority or, if appropriate, by the State and/or Territory water authority in the jurisdiction in which it occurs.
The Draft Drinking-Water Standard is a framework to ensure the use and safe handling of water in Australia.
The standard does not contain specific water quality guidelines.
The Government has made the draft drinking standard available to the public in consultation with industry, the drinking-waters industry, and other stakeholders, and will consider the draft standard as part of the process of developing a national drinking-standard.
In order to ensure a safe water supply, the draft Standard will include a number of important water quality measures, including water quality indicators, water-quality indicators, monitoring and testing methods, water quality monitoring and sampling methods, and water-level monitoring and monitoring methods.
This draft Standard is designed to provide a basis for the Government to develop and implement a national water quality policy, as the government continues to work with industry and other partners to ensure Australia has a water-safe drinking-place, which is both safe and efficient for all Australians.
The Drinking Water Standard will be developed by the Australian Water Industry Group (AWIG) in consultation between the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Water Industry Association of Australia (WIIA), and will include the following: water quality performance indicators, the following water quality criteria, the water-specific water quality assessment, water health monitoring and reporting methods, a water safety plan, and a water pollution control plan.
A draft Standard water quality benchmarking system will be set out to identify water quality benchmarks for the drinking water system, and to assess the performance of these benchmarks across the country, and across time.
The benchmarks will be published on a regular basis and will provide a baseline measure of water quality for all of the Australian drinking-places.
The Water Quality Standard will establish national water-safety standards for water-based drinking water in all of Australia, and is expected to provide guidance to water authorities and industry on how to meet the water safety standards for drinking water supply.
This is consistent with the principles and objectives of the World Health Organisation’s Drinking Water Framework for Health, Safe Drinking and Pest Control (WHO Framework) as outlined in the World Council for Sustainable Development’s Water and Water Quality Guidelines.
For more information on the Draft Drinking Water Standards, including links to the draft Drinking Water standards and the water standard, see the following links: Drinking Water: Guidelines and information about the draft standards, water source, water and treatment standards, drinking water, drinking-standards, drinking standards, guidelines, water, water standards, benchmarking, benchmarks, drinking, water sources, water testing, water monitoring, water treatment