1500hrs 10 February

Townsville City Council continues to work with the Townsville Hospital and Health Service to ensure water being supplied to Townsville households and businesses is safe to drink.

Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue reassured the community that the water is safe to drink.

“There is absolutely no relationship or correlation between the colour of the water and the safety of the water,” Dr Donohue said.

“Water colouration can be impacted by a range of naturally occurring minerals and pigments that are purely cosmetic.

“Townsville’s water supply continues to meet all the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines for safe consumption of water.”

Mayor Jenny Hill said she understood residents’ worries and apologised for the concerns the current discoloration was causing.

“The health and wellbeing of the community is our top priority. That’s why our water supply is comprehensively treated and rigorously tested to ensure it meets all applicable health standards,” Cr Hill said.

“I can assure the public we are undertaking rigorous testing every day, multiple times a day and are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure the water quality meets drinking water quality standards.”

“That regime is continuing to show the water is safe to drink despite the discolouration, but I completely understand that some residents are concerned.”

Cr Hill said there was no quick fix for the outbreak of blue green algae in the Ross River Dam, which had forced changes to the city’s water network leading to the discoloration occurring.

Townsville Water General Manager Scott Moorhead said crews were working on every available mitigation to alleviate the discoloration issue.

“The problem is the amount of algae coming through from the dam is clogging the filters and slowing down the treatment process,” Mr Moorhead said.

“We are trialling additional filtration equipment at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant in an effort to produce more water.

“We are also varying the depth at which we are taking water from Ross River Dam to try and minimise algae getting into the system as well as some of the minerals that are causing discoloration.”

Blue-green algal blooms are a common issue and are caused by an excess of nutrients being washed into the dam due to the onset of the wet season combined with warmer temperatures.