Drinking Water Quality Management

In 2009 a new regulatory framework was introduced for Queensland potable water providers. Reporting on drinking water quality to the Office of the Water Supply Regulator (DNRME) became mandatory for all Providers on 2 January 2009. Mandatory Drinking Water Quality Management Plans (DWQMPs) were required from large WSPs in March 2011 and in 2012 and 2013 for medium and small providers respectively.

qldwater played a crucial role in influencing the development of state guidelines and processes to simplify the transition for WSPs to statutory reporting and developing DWQMPs. Mandatory DWQMPs were introduced at a time when the industry was labouring under a raft of duplicative statutory planning requirements and were not initially supported by the industry if they were "just another plan". However, appropriate planning and management of drinking water quality has always been a priority for the urban water industry and qldwater has since strongly supported their retention while red tape reduction saw the demise of many other statutory plans.

The new Queensland guidelines were designed to follow the risk-based approach of the internationally respected Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (ADWG). Most other jurisdictions have documents similar to the DWQMPs and the ADWG already underpinned many of the existing water quality programs of Queensland WSPs.

The industry continues to work with the Regulator to develop DWQMPs and support activities including skilling and meet the State requirements while maintaining community health and safety as the key priority. This partnership between industry and the regulator is leading to a constantly improving framework to ensure the ongoing provision of safe drinking water to Queensland communities.

At an operational level, qldwater was able to secure a clear articulation from the State that instantaneous coliform testing kits are an acceptable complementary tool to laboratory testing. This addresses some of the most critical issues for remote service providers in testing water quality, namely the ‘shelf life’ of water samples and the ability to respond immediately to results of water quality testing.

Related Topics and Links

In August 2016, the drinking water supply for Havelock North, New Zealand was contaminated with Campylobacter. The resultant outbreak led to four fatalities, with an additional 5,500 people becoming sick. Australia is not immune to such an outcome. Thanks to Queensland Health and qldwater, this recording features a panel discussion providing a first-hand account of the preconditions of this disaster and what could have been done differently.

Related Documents

COVID-19 Risks to Water Quality Compliance - Release Date 01-Apr-2020: - This analysis mirrors that undertaken for environmental compliance recognising assurance of safe water supplies will require increased focus in any community impacted by COVID. It has two components: 1.description of water business functions that will be impacted by COVID-19 disruption (Table 1), and 2.identifying compliance risks from business disruption and which should receive reduced or additional focus (Table 2).

DWQMP Auditor Qualification Fact Sheet - Release Date 22-Sep-2016: - Drinking Water Quality Management Plans audit information.

Exemplar Global Water QualityManagement Systems Auditor Certification Scheme - Release Date 22-Sep-2016: - Exemplar Global has developed a national Water Quality Management Systems Auditor Certification Scheme that will be applicable for water quality audits around Australia. This factsheet will provide more information.

Ecoli Fact Sheet - Release Date 12-Nov-2014: - From 2 January 2009 new water legislation, The Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, made it mandatory for all registered drinking water service providers to test for E.coli in their reticulated drinking water supply. This fact sheet provides more information.

ARCHIVE DEWS-DWQMP-Reports-Template - Release Date 29-Oct-2014: - DEWS template for preparing a drinking water quality management plan (DWQMP) report under the requirements of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.

DERM DWQMP Guidelines - Release Date 15-Nov-2011: - Guidelines for creating a Drinking Water Quality Management Plan from DERM September 2010. Superseded - for information only.

DERM DWQMP Supporting Information - Release Date 15-Nov-2011: - Supporting Information for creating a DWQMP from DERM - September 2010.

DERM DWQMP Template - Release Date 15-Nov-2011: - Template with Guidance Notes to assist in creating a Drinking Water Quality Management Plan from DERM September 2011