Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your water supply
We’ve created this page to inform our customers and community about coronavirus (COVID-19), in relation to drinking water and our position as a water utility.
This webpage has been adapted from information provided by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) – the peak industry body representing the urban water sector – as well as the best available information from the Victorian Department of Health, the Australian Government Department of Health, and the World Health Organisation.
We will update this page as new information becomes available.
Help with your water bill
We understand that these are uncertain times financially, and we’re here to help.
We have a number of customer support programs, and can tailor an option to suit your individual needs. There are no additional costs to access any of these services.
We understand some business customers may also be financially impacted by coronavirus. If you run a business, we also have options that can help alleviate bill pressures.
Our contact centre is quick, confidential, and easy to deal with. We will put you in touch with a specialist who will deal with your enquiry promptly and sensitively.
We’ve extended our hours of operation from 8 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday, to provide you with more support and flexibility.
Can I catch coronavirus from drinking water?
No, there is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted by drinking water.
Our drinking water is high quality and is well treated. There is no evidence that drinking water is affected by coronavirus.
Should I buy bottled water?
No, there is no need to buy bottled water for drinking. We will continue to supply clean, safe, treated drinking water.
How is Barwon Water protecting the drinking water supply?
Our water treatment and disinfection facilities are designed to remove or inactivate the most resistant pathogens from the water supply. Existing treatment process are expected to be highly effective to inactivate coronavirus.
We have stringent hygiene measures in place at water treatment plants and secondary disinfection facilities. We maintain a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) independently certified drinking water quality management system, covering the entire water supply system from catchment to taps.
Can coronavirus be transmitted by the sewerage system?
There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmissible via wastewater systems.
We will continue to treat sewage to the relevant guidelines and standards to protect public health and the environment. This includes best practices for protecting the occupational health of workers at treatment facilities.
We are working with the Victorian Department of Health to regularly sample wastewater.
Wastewater monitoring for coronavirus
Wastewater monitoring can show the possible presence of coronavirus in the local community.
Viral fragments in wastewater can be due to an active infectious case, but can also be due to someone who has recovered from coronavirus continuing to ‘shed’ the virus.
If fragments are detected where there have not been recent positive cases, local communities can be more alert and health authorities can target public health advice and increase testing to minimise transmission.
For more information on the wastewater monitoring program and testing results in your area, visit the Department of Health’s Wastewater monitoring page.
Our employees and contractors are taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of coronavirus, including physical distancing, good hygiene, face coverings and personal protective equipment.
To safeguard our community, please maintain a 1.5 metre distance from employees and contractors.
If a member of our staff (Barwon Water or Barwon Asset Solutions) or a licensed contractor approaches you as part of essential maintenance or repair work, please be assured of our commitment to health and safety.
In keeping with the Victorian Government’s COVIDSafe approach, you can visit our reservoirs for exercise and recreational activities.
When visiting our areas, you must adhere to Victorian Government public health measures and maintain physical distance of 1.5 metres, practice good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze into your elbow and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.
You should always carry a face mask with you for times you can’t maintain physical distance of 1.5 metres from others.
For up-to-date information, including the number of people you can meet outdoors, visit the Victorian Government's coronavirus (COVID-19) website.
About drinking water quality in Australia
Australia’s drinking water is among the safest and most highly regulated in the world. Water utilities supply safe, high quality drinking water to cities and regions across Australia.
The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council provide rigorous guideline values for water utilities to follow.
Our COVID Safe Plan
In accordance with Victorian Government requirements, we have adopted a COVID Safe Plan. The plan sets out:
- how we keep records of employees, contactors and visitors to our sites
- control measures to mitigate the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our workplace, including details about personal protective equipment
- protocols for preparing for, and responding to, suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in our workplace.
This plan is for all worksites under the control of Barwon Water and subsidiary company Barwon Asset Solutions. It will be continually reviewed and updated as required.