New drinking water reports help deliver a more complete picture for community

In a first for the Fitzroy Basin, the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health has today improved availability of waterway data by releasing drinking water reports for townships in the Rockhampton Region.
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health Executive Officer, Nathan Johnston, said the new reporting tool complemented the annual river health and water quality report cards and helped make the link between the importance of maintaining good river water quality and the production of safe drinking water.
The reports established that water provided for human use across all townships assessed was excellent, resulting in A grades being awarded.
“Our Science Panel has endorsed these reports which have been prepared by applying the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines to data provided by our partner Councils, Rockhampton and Central Highlands Regional Councils,” Mr Johnston said.
“These are one of the first reports in Australia to use grades for drinking water, to extend community understanding of the provision of tap water for human consumption by Councils.”
The first release focuses on July 2010 to June 2012 for Rockhampton and Mount Morgan; and July 2011 to June 2012 for Blackwater, Anakie, Bluff, Capella, Comet, Emerald, Rolleston, Sapphire and Springsure.
Councillor Greg Belz, Chair of Rockhampton Regional Council’s Water Committee said Council welcomed Fitzroy Partnership for River Health’s new drinking water reporting initiative.
“The excellent grading results received and endorsed by the independent panel reflect the quality processes in place by Fitzroy River Water for water treatment in the Rockhampton Region for the benefit of our local residents,” Councillor Belz said.
Mr Johnston said reporting compared results for two different types of guidelines:  Health and Aesthetic, and treated water met health guidelines 100 per cent of the time for all town supplies assessed.
“Treated water met aesthetic guidelines almost all of the time. Minor exceedances were noted for a limited number of indicators in some townships, which is typical of most water supplies across Australia,” Mr Johnston said.
“Unlike health, exceedances of aesthetic guidelines does not signify unsafe drinking water, rather it relates to the acceptability of water to the consumer; for example, appearance, taste and odour.”
“To get started this new reporting looks at physical and chemical measures and in the future our aim is to widen it to include pesticides, microorganisms and algal toxins.
“We stress that this new reporting is designed to complement regional council reporting, not replace it. Councils are the initial contact point for drinking water and will provide notices if there is ever any health concerns associated with their tap water.
“The drinking water reports offer the community easier access to a greater range of user friendly information, which provides transparency and builds community understanding” Mr Johnston said.
Subsequent drinking water reports will now be released alongside the annual aquatic ecosystem reports delivering an even more complete picture of waterway health for the Fitzroy Basin.
The reporting is now available online at
The Partnership formed in 2012, now includes 25 organisations from government, agriculture, resources, industry, research and community.
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health –
Major Partners: Fitzroy Basin Association (host organisation), Queensland Government, BMA, Peabody Energy, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Santos, Origin Energy and Glencore.
Partners: Arrow Energy, Jellinbah Resources, Wesfarmers, Rockhampton Regional Council, Cockatoo Coal, Idemitsu, Isaac Plains Coal, New Hope Coal, Yancoal, Central Highlands Regional Council, Cotton Australia, CQG Consulting, CQUniversity and Queensland Resources Council.
Associate Partners: AgForce and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.