2B) Improved water taste for communities with systematic issues through targeted investigations and responses

About this project

We source our water from a number of different systems (rivers, channels, storages), which is then treated at water treatment plants across our region. This can lead to variable tastes, depending on where a town’s water is sourced from.
We have spoken to customers and analysed our customer complaint feedback - we recognise that water taste is a very important issue for our customers. However, analysis of the feedback and complaint data does not indicate that any towns consistently have issues, so further research will be carried out to identify affected towns and in turn, improvements will be made where possible.

Actions to date

Initially, we engaged with a number of communities through taste testing and odour testing at water cafes (refer to image shown in PDF - link below). This helped to narrow our focus to Pyalong, Seymour and Kyabram, where data tells us people experience taste issues. After in-depth analysis of the data, it appears likely that the majority of taste and odour issues are related to events, such as flooding and blackwater, or large-scale blue-green algae blooms.
We’ve carried out a number of upgrades to improve the water taste. In Pyalong, we have refitted half of the filters at the water treatment plant, and carted water while the upgrades were taking place. In Kyabram, we have implemented pre-coagulation at the raw water inlet, as well as desludging the sludge basin, rehabilitating raw water storage lagoons and adding in the ability to dose powdered activated carbon to improve water taste during events like blue-green algae blooms. We have also increased our surveillance on raw water for compounds that can cause taste and odour issues. In Seymour, we now have a portable powdered activated carbon dosing unit to help improve taste during the water treatment process, when we have identified there are taste/odour causing compounds in the raw water. We’re also keeping a closer eye on the raw water quality and identifying potential taste issues to proactively address them.
While we’ve made improvements, our research shows that there are no towns with systemic issues affecting water taste. As such, we put a recommendation to our Executive Leadership Team that this project be considered completed.

What's next?

We’ve now completed this project, but we’ll continue our increased monitoring on raw water quality, as well as address any opportunities to improve taste-related issues.

Our accountability for this project

Once the engagement program is established, any towns with systemic taste issues (non-event driven) will be informed of the timing for improvements.

In the event of the improvement commitments not being in place by their deadlines, a GSL credit of $25 per year per affected customer will be made for each year of the delay.

For this information in PDF form, click here to download the factsheet (PDF: 388KB)