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.

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 among the strictest in the world.

Our filtration plants are run by teams of dedicated and experienced people. They're committed to ensuring that everyone 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 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 (NATA).

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. Chlorine is 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 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.

Good for your teeth

We add small amounts of fluoride to your drinking water to strengthen teeth and prevent decay. This is 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 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 who are sensitive to taste may 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. If you notice the smell and taste of chlorine, let your water stand in a jug for an hour, or pop it in the fridge overnight.

Cloudy water

From time to time, water from the tap may appear cloudy. The cloudiness is just tiny air bubbles caused by water of different temperatures entering our system. This is natural, particularly in the warmer months. Your water is safe to drink. 

The air bubbles in a glass of water disappear from the bottom up, and your water should be clear in a few seconds. If you're concerned, let it stand for 30 seconds.

Black specks

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

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