Water – make it safe to drink

water make it safe to drink

Drinking water from rain tanks, bores and even dams is great when you know the water is safe. However, sometimes prolonged dry periods, contamination from dust, livestock, birds, algae and even insect plagues can affect the quality of your drinking water.

Seepage from septic tanks, intensive farming operations or pesticide drift can also contaminate your drinking water supply. More recently climate variability has increased the number of algal blooms which can also be toxic.

If you suspect water may be contaminated, boil or filter your drinking water. You may need to consider treating it.

Water from natural resources

Drinking untreated water such as creek water, bore water or sometimes even rainwater can lead to illnesses including gastroenteritis. Natural water sources should be used with caution and water treatment methods used to make water safe to drink. Remember, think before you drink and treat the water if you are unsure.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Department of Health
Your Private Drinking Water Supply  [PDF 1MG]

Centers for Disease Control (US)
Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

Centers for Disease Control (US)
Water disinfection for travellers

Department of Health (Vic)
Protect our waters, protect our health

Department of Health (Vic)
Protecting our drinking water catchments

Evnvironmental Protection Agency (US)
Private Drinking Water Wells

Environmental Protection Agency (US)
What to do after the flood

National Health Service (UK)
Flooding: health guidance and advice

Research & reviews:

Centers for Disease Control (US)
Surveillance for waterborne disease and outbreaks associated with drinking water and water not intended for drinking – United States, 2005-2006

World Health Organization (WHO)
Drinking water

Fast facts:


  • Creeks, bore water and dams can be infected with water borne diseases, especially after storms or floods.
  • Contaminated water can cause sickness such as gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.
  • The best way to kill waterborne bacteria is to boil the water before drinking. Filtration works very effectively too.

Last updated: 7th November, 2016