Safe drinking water

It's quite a journey

Our water – the water you use every day – is from natural sources. It’s filtered to the high standards set by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which ensures that it’s safe to drink straight from the tap. In fact, Greater Sydney has some of the best drinking water in the world – not just for quality, but for looking after the environment, too.

The Prospect Water Filtration Plant exceeded turbidity targets from one of its 24 filters on two occasions between 14 and 15 August 2021. 

NSW Health, with advice from its expert panel, assessed this event as a low risk to public health. The drinking water continued to be effectively disinfected and the catchment risk was low.

Drinking water remains safe to drink. 

Sydney Water takes its responsibility to protect public health and the environment seriously and measures have been implemented to prevent any similar incidents in future.

Your drinking water is among the world's best

Find out how we ensure the quality of the water we source and distribute, and care for the environment.

Your drinking water is from natural sources

Most of Sydney's drinking water comes from rainwater stored in lakes. These are surrounded by some of the most unspoilt, native bushland in the region – including world heritage national parks.

80% of the water we supply to the people of Greater Sydney comes from Lake Burragorang at Warragamba. Water NSW manages and protects the area around the lake.

We source about 80% of Sydney's drinking water from Lake Burragorang behind Warragamba Dam.

Your water is filtered

We filter 100% of your water to ensure it’s safe to drink straight from the tap. We clean our filters every 2 days. 

We monitor the water coming out of our filters 24/7 to ensure it’s safe to drink.

We use advanced technology to constantly monitor your water quality at key steps. Our water quality scientists do up to 70 different tests to confirm your drinking water is of the highest quality.

Your drinking water meets the targets set by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. These guidelines are some of the strictest in the world.

Your water is clean and safe

Most of us across Greater Sydney choose to drink tap water over any other water, every day. We protect our community by providing locally sourced, clean and safe drinking water to almost 5 million people.

If you're out and about, you can find a water refill station to top up your refillable bottle.

Essential facts about your water

Curious about your water and where it comes from? Read some essential facts about our drinking water quality and operations.

Safe to drink

We filter 100% of your water. Experienced operators, state-of-the-art monitoring and computer controls ensure that your water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. These guidelines are some of the strictest in the world.

Our filtration plants are run by teams of dedicated and experienced people. They're committed to ensuring that people across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra region have safe, filtered water every day of the year.

We clean our water filters a few times each week to ensure your water quality is always high – whether you're using it for drinking, home brewing or filling up your aquarium. Find out more about the water analysis in your area.

Tested and monitored

Our state-of-the-art laboratory Sydney Water Monitoring Services works throughout the year. We do up to 70 different tests to make sure your drinking water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Our laboratory and field sampling teams are accredited by Australia’s National Association of Testing Authorities.

We're committed to honesty and transparency. If there's ever a threat to Sydney's drinking water quality, we'll work with NSW Health to notify the public immediately. We regularly report to NSW Health on the quality of your water.

We add a small amount of chlorine to your drinking water at our filtration plants to protect you from micro-organisms. It's safe and effective. The amounts we add are informed by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

We try to minimise the taste and smell of chlorine in your drinking water. If you still notice it, let your water stand in a jug or put it in the fridge overnight.

We also use other steps to make sure your drinking water remains safe after it leaves the filtration plant. These include:

  • state-of-the-art leak detection programs
  • secure, covered reservoirs and inspection programs
  • secondary chlorination in the network
  • pressurising the pipes to keep things out.

Protects your teeth

We add small amounts of fluoride to your drinking water to strengthen teeth and prevent decay.

We do this in line with guidance from NSW Health. NSW Health continues to support councils and water utilities in fluoridation of water supplies, and encourages communities to support this important public health project. There's a lot of research to support this.

Find out more about fluoride in drinking water from:

Value for money

Sydney's drinking water is great quality. It's much better value than buying bottled water.

If you live in Sydney, the Blue Mountains or the Illawarra, you pay less than 1 cent a litre for water! However, keep in mind that your Sydney Water bill includes more than water use charges.

Look and taste of your water

Occasionally your water might look or taste a little different to normal. Learn more below. If you still have concerns, please call us on 13 20 90.

Find out more about the typical water analysis in your area.

Water colour

Changes to the colour of your drinking water can happen from time to time and are normally safe.  They can happen because:

  • the pipes on your property are old or need to be repaired – call your local plumber to check the condition of your pipes
  • your hot water service needs to be repaired or replaced – check if the discoloured water only comes from your hot water taps. If so, call your local plumber
  • we're working on the water pipes in your area. 

If your water is discoloured, we recommend running the cold water tap for a few minutes to see if it returns to normal. 

Taste and odour

The taste of your water can change from time to time for various reasons.

Some people are quite sensitive to taste and might sometimes notice metallic, chlorine or earthy tastes and odours.

We need to add small amounts of chlorine to protect the safety of your drinking water. The smell and taste of chlorine will disappear if you put a jug of water on the bench and allow it to stand for an hour – or pop it in the fridge overnight.

Cloudy water

From time to time, the water may appear cloudy when you turn on your tap.

Cloudy water is due to tiny air bubbles caused by water of different temperatures entering our system. This is completely natural, particularly in the warmer months. Your water is safe to drink. 

When you fill a glass, the water will clear from the bottom up and should be completely clear in a few seconds. If you're concerned, let the water rest for 30 seconds.

Black specks

If you notice black specks in your water, it's normally caused by the rubber from your tap washers or o-rings wearing out. This happens most often in taps that aren't used very much.

Please call us on 13 20 90 if you're concerned about any of these issues.

Drinking water recipes

Strawberry, mint and star anise

1 litre of tap water
¼ cup mint leaves
5 large strawberries
1 star anise

Lemon lime

1 litre of tap water
½ lemon
1 lime

Orange cinnamon

1 litre of tap water
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
4 slices peeled ginger


Fill up a 1 litre jug of Sydney’s fresh, high quality drinking water, straight from your tap.

Thoroughly wash fruit before slicing and adding to water.

Let sit for 30–60 minutes to help the flavour infuse. For best results, leave to infuse overnight in the fridge, or add a generous quantity of ice and enjoy straight away.

Water can be topped up as required, but fruit should be changed at least every 48 hours. 

Chill out with our refreshing drinking water recipes.