New Zealand inquiry identifies multiple failures to ensure safe drinking water supply

This Inquiry has shown, meeting the Drinking-water Standards was only part of the story.

“Where the water source was an aquifer, the delivery of safe drinking water to consumers was dependent on the security of the source from contaminants. It was also dependent upon the water supplier being aware of and managing the risks of contamination of the water supply, and competent local authority administration of the broader resource management regime”.

The enquiry found that “it was highly likely that heavy rain inundated paddocks neighbouring Brookvale Road causing contaminated water to flow into a pond about 90 metres from Brookvale Road bore 1” and subsequently entered the bore. With the result that there was direct interaction and between surface water and groundwater, and hence increasing the source water vulnerability.

The enquiry also found that “the Regional Council’s knowledge and awareness of aquifer and catchment contamination risks near Brookvale Road fell below required standards. It failed to take specific and effective steps to assess the risks of contamination to the Te Mata aquifer near Brookvale Road and the attendant risks to drinking water-safety”.

The overview of findings of part 1 of the enquiry can be at—Part-1—Overview.

Victorian Branch – Catchment Management Technical Seminar

On 22 March 2017, World Water Day, the Australian Water Association’s Victorian Branch, in collaboration with the Association’s Catchment Management Specialist Network, held a one day Catchment Management Technical Seminar in Melbourne. Karla attended the seminar, along with 70 delegates from Victoria and further afield.

The theme of the seminar was Catchment management for water quality, and the stated objective of the day was Building understanding between land managers, catchment management authorities and water corporations on how catchment management delivers water quality benefits.

The seminar was broken up into four sessions:
• Session 1:  Policy frameworks for catchment management
• Session 2:  The big picture and the state of the science
• Session 3:  Managing and understanding pathogen risks in catchments
• Session 4:  Practical responses to catchment issues
Whilst it was billed as a Victorian branch event, there were several interstate presenters and delegates which was really good to seek

The presentations were of a high quality and covered a range of contemporary catchment management issues. Initial feedback from delegates was very positive.

Karla is a committee member of the Catchment Management Specialist Network.

Source Vulnerability Assessment – Brogo River Catchment

Brogo River Offtake

Karla recently visited Bega, NSW, to assess the source water vulnerability of the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system. The project considers the vulnerability of the water within the Brogo River, the microbial quality of the water and the capacity of drinking water treatment. Naturallogic, has completed similar assessments, for Clarence Valley Council, Hunter Water, North East Catchment Management Authority in recent months.

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines: Draft framework on microbial health based targets

 The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (ADWG) have been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and are designed to provide an authoritative reference to the Australian community and the water supply industry on what defines safe, good quality drinking water. The ADWG undergo rolling revision to ensure they represent the latest and best scientific evidence on good quality drinking water. The current revision has considered microbial health based targets (HBT’s) and has recently completed public consultation.

The draft framework describes a range of options for utilities to meet HBTs. For smaller utilities this could involve using default treatment processes based on categorising the type of water source. For more technically advanced utilities a more system-specific approach using water supply-specific monitoring data can be used.  For utilities that do not meet the existing standards in the ADWG, the HBT framework describes a water safety continuum, where the utility can plan improvements to its operation in order to work towards the goal of safer water and best practice.

The draft framework provides a discussion of the science and rationale of microbial HBT in the context of source water, such as applying HBT to drinking water supplies, determining minimum treatment requirements for drinking water supplies, specified treatment technologies for small or remote drinking water, and information on operational monitoring.

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has also published a ‘Manual for the Application of Health-Based Treatment Targets’.

In order to apply the draft framework or the WSAA method, the vulnerability of the source water must be assessed.  naturallogic has been completing these assessment for Councils and water utilises across Australia.

SA Resilient Awards 2013

The 2013 SA Resilient Awards were announced today. The local government category State winner was awarded to Integrated Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment which was completed for the Central Local Government Region of Councils. Naturallogic contributed the water resources section of the project and congratulates the project partners and other contributing authors.