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Drinking water infrastructure: How we have safe drinking water

Have you ever wondered how clean, clear and safe drinking water has made it to your kitchen sink, ready for you to drink? Some of us have probably never really thought too much about the vast amount of drinking water infrastructure that is needed to bring water from its source to our taps.

In reality, it requires a massive network of pipes, pumps, power generators, reservoirs and fixtures. Nationwide, from our biggest cities and to our smallest towns, we all have our own local drinking water infrastructure. Considering the infrastructure is unique from city to city, town to town, this is a general overview of the journey your safe drinking water is likely to take before it reaches your household.

Safe drinking water journey

Before it is safe to drink, water is sourced and drawn from a range of sources. This typically includes local rivers, dams, reservoir networks, aquifers and from desalination. The water is then filtered and treated using the most effective and appropriate treatment process – taking into account the condition of the water that has been sourced. This will ensure it is safe, clean and up to high standards of quality. The water is then monitored and tested.

Once it is safe to drink, the water is delivered to our homes through pump stations and through our local sections of pipe – South Australia alone has 271 pump stations and more than 27,000 kilometres of pipes. Once it leaves our homes, the water joins a sewage and wastewater network.

How and why drinking water is treated

The process that water is treated depends on its source. Correctly treating water before it reaches homes is important to make sure it looks, smells and tastes right and meet health standards. Here are the ways our vast amounts of drinking water infrastructure turn untreated water into safe drinking water.

Chlorine – Used to protect public health and ensure water is safe to drink by destroying bacteria and other pathogens.

Chloramine – Chloraminated water is a better tasting safe drinking water and, similar to chlorine, destroys bacteria and other pathogens ensuring tap water is clean and safe to drink.

Desalination – Desalination plants use a technology called reverse osmosis, which is designed to remove 99 per cent of the impurities and salt in water.

Fluoride – Used to provide significant public health benefits – does not affect tase, look or smell of safe drinking water.

Ultraviolet light – Exposure to appropriate doses of UV light destroys bacteria, viruses and protozoa in water making them non harmful to humans.

AWD Civil are the experts in managing and planning diverse drinking water infrastructure to ensure local residents have safe drinking water. If you have a project that needs doing contact our team at 07 3200 5766.

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