Port Melbourne to Portsea, Parkdale to Pakenham, have you ever wondered where Melbourne’s water comes from?
Here’s a snapshot of the journey our water goes on to reach the taps of over 1.87 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across Melbourne’s south east.
We buy water from our wholesaler, Melbourne Water, who harvests, stores and treats water before it gets to us.
A large proportion of our drinking water comes from protected or uninhabited mountain ash forests high in the Yarra Ranges east of Melbourne, where more than 157,000 hectares have been reserved for the harvesting of water.
From the uppermost catchments, water flows into Thomson and Upper Yarra Reservoirs where it may be stored for many years. This is a good thing. Time allows sediment from the forests, washed in by the rain, to settle, providing natural purification.
Water from the upper reservoirs is then transferred to Silvan and Cardinia Reservoirs where it’s disinfected to kill bacteria, fluoridated to improve dental health, and corrected for pH.
Customers around our South Melbourne locality get their water from the Winneke Water Treatment Plant (WTP), located at Sugarloaf Reservoir. This water is harvested from both the Yarra River at Yering Gorge, as well as the Maroondah Aqueduct.
Towns from Bunyip to Lang Lang, the Mornington Peninsula and Cranbourne receive water from the Tarago Reservoir and WTP.
Types of water
We live in a climate that’s getting drier and warmer, and our population continues to grow – which is putting more pressure on our drinking water supplies.
Using the right type of water for the right purpose – and only using drinking water where it’s really needed – will help make sure there’s enough drinking water to go round.
Below is more information about the different types of water that might be available to you.
That crisp, fresh, clean water that's come directly from the tap.
Tap water, ‘drinking water’ or ‘potable water’ is water that is safe for humans to drink.
Rainwater is an option to use in and around your home as an easy and effective way to save Victoria’s precious water supplies and reduce the amount of drinking water you use.
Greywater is wastewater from the bathroom and laundry basins, the showers, bath tubs and washing machine (but not your kitchen). Greywater systems let you reuse water, which is good for the environment and your wallet.
Learn more about rainwater and greywater.
Class A recycled water is a sustainable water supply recognised by its purple coloured pipes. We supply it to homes for toilet flushing, outdoor watering and lots of other things, reducing reliance on drinking water.
With over 10,000 homes, businesses, sports fields and open spaces already connected, we’re continuing to expand the recycled water network even further.
Learn more about recycled water.
Desalinated water is drinking water produced from sea water. As a sustainable and rain-independent water source, desalination will help supply Victoria’s water needs for future generations.
Learn more about desalinated water.
Rather than heavy rainfall simply being washed down the drain, stormwater runoff from urban areas can be collected, treated, stored and used.
Recycled stormwater can provide many benefits to Melbourne, like reducing pollution, improving flood resilience and providing a sustainable alternative source of water.
Stormwater harvesting is usually managed by local councils and Melbourne Water – you can find out more on their website.
At South East Water, we’re driving an innovative pilot project of our own to supply recycled stormwater to Avenview Estate residents.
Learn about our Troups Creek stormwater recycling project.
We know you prefer to flush and forget, so we do the thinking about sewerage for you.
We manage a sewerage network made up of 9,868 kilometres of pipeline, 259 sewage pump stations and nine water recycling plants that safely collect and transfer sewage to treatment plants.
Learn more about sewerage.