Surface water from farm dams, rivers and creeks should not be used for drinking or cooking without appropriate treatment. It is very important to ensure that the water your family drinks is safe.
Surface water may be acceptable for non-potable uses such as washing clothes, irrigation, gardening, toilet-flushing, but we recommend that water used for bathing is at least disinfected before use.
NSW Health warns that heavy rainfall and flooding increases the risk of contaminated water which could contain disease causing micro-organisms, chemicals or algal blooms, entering surface waters such as rivers and creeks. Blue-green algae may cause skin irritation. Water quality may be affected during drought as flow and the amount of water is reduced.
Residents are urged to ensure they are aware of the quality of the water source they are using.
To avoid water quality problems:
It is worth remembering that a properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water. Providing the rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell and the roof, gutters and tanks are well maintained, it is probably safe and unlikely to cause any illness for most users.
Further information on water quality and treatment is available in NSW Health’s Private Water Supply Guidelines and the Rainwater Tanks brochures.
For further information contact your local Public Health Unit.