• Project No 1152
  • Project Name Improving water quality analysis in response to extreme events: Fires and floods
  • Lead Organisation Water Research Australia
  • Research Lead ChemCentre
  • Main Researcher Kathryn Linge
  • Completion Year 2024

Project Description

Extreme events can be unpredictable in terms of their impact on raw water quality which is further complicated by the possible introduction of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) into catchment runoff.

Drinking water guidelines, such as the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, provide some guidance on managing water quality during emergencies and disasters, however, the ability to make informed decisions may be compromised due to the level of unpredictability in raw water characteristics.

Without reliable analysis water quality managers lack accurate information to model and potentially mitigate risks to drinking water security. The response can be over or undertreatment in the race to mitigate risks and contend with timelines that are often tight and complicated by social and political pressure to get services back online fast.

This project will review existing knowledge surrounding impacts on source water quality expected from extreme events. Then a second stage will bring together laboratories around Australia to come up with baseline datasets, validated methodologies, and protocols for laboratory analysis and water utility responses during extreme events.