Drinking Water Quality

The Public and Environmental Health Service has always had confidence about the way drinking water supplies for major centres have been managed by the bulk water authorities.

This has been reflected in our annual drinking water reports.

However, there have been persistent ongoing problems with water quality in many rural and regional communities.

The water and sewerage reforms offer a sustainable solution to these problems and that is why they have been strongly supported by PEHS.

While the points made by Dr Sexton about testing frequency in the cities of Hobart and Clarence may well be correct, there has been a significant increase in testing overall under the water and sewerage corporations.

There have been 16 temporary boil water alerts since the new corporations took over – the great majority in small towns and districts.  Each of these has its own underlying reasons and floods associated with heavy rainfall this year have been a major factor.

From a Public Health perspective, the important need is to alert people when their water quality is not up to standard and to improve systems across the state so we can ensure all Tasmanians have access to safe, high quality drinking water.

As Director of Public Health I have been advocating action for the past five years.  The reforms approved by the Parliament offer the first Statewide program to deliver these badly-needed improvements.

Dr Roscoe Taylor

Director of Public Health