In the wake of the taste of Warrnambool’s drinking water being tainted by algae, Wannon Water has revealed customers across the region want better quality water.
High levels of algae caused by warmer weather have led to a taste and odour issue in Warrnambool’s drinking water in recent days. The water remains safe to drink.
The incident, which is being resolved, has also highlighted a lack of satisfaction in drinking water supply in the region – particularly in areas such as Port Fairy, Portland and Heywood which rely on groundwater.
In planning for the next five years, Wannon Water consulted its customers and found the highest priority for them was improvements to the taste, smell and hardness of their water.
According to its price submission produced in September last year, customer satisfaction surveys showed “around half our customers in our groundwater towns are not satisfied with the taste and odour of their potable supply”.
Wannon Water branch operations manager said the taste and odour issues in Warrnambool’s drinking water linked to algal growth happened once every couple of years.
He said the technology to filter out the compounds caused by algae existed, but it would cost millions of dollars to install it in the Otway supply system that provides Warrnambool’s water.
Wannon Water service delivery general manager Ian Bail said the company was looking at options to prevent the algae-related issue recurring and also to improve the consistently poor taste of water in areas supplied by groundwater. He said salt caused taste issues in Port Fairy’s water.
“For us looking ahead, we’re asking if it’s actually okay that people can taste this stuff,” Mr Bail said.
The submission proposed Wannon Water spend $20 million on water supply renewal programs, $7 million in capital improvement upgrades and $338,000 for planning works that will improve the quality of drinking water over five years.