The South Australian Safe Drinking Water Act: summary of the first year of operation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The Safe Drinking Water Act 2011 was introduced in South Australia to provide clear direction to drinking water providers on how to achieve water safety. The Act requires drinking water providers to register with SA Health and develop a risk management plan (RMP) for their water supply that includes operational and verification monitoring plans and an incident notification and communication protocol. During the first year of operation, 212 drinking water providers registered under the Act, including one major water utility and a range of small to medium sized providers in regional and remote areas of the State. Information was captured on water source(s) used and water treatment. Rainwater was the most frequently reported drinking water source (66%), followed by bore water (13%), on-supply or carting of mains water (13%), mixed source (rainwater with bore water backup) (6%) and surface water (3%). The majority of providers (91%) treated the water supply, 87% used disinfection. During the first year of operation, 16 water quality incidents were formally reported to SA Health. These included both microbial and chemical incidents. Case studies presented highlight how the RMPs are assisting drinking water providers to identify incidents of potential health concern and implement corrective actions.

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