Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2004)

Summary information

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No - PDF only
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The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines is undergoing a rolling revision process that ensures it represents the latest scientific evidence on good quality drinking water.

The latest draft amendments have been released as the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2011)


The 2004 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) have been developed by NHMRC in collaboration with the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). The ADWG incorporates the Framework for the Management of Drinking Water Quality and provides the Australian community and the water supply industry with guidance on what constitutes good quality drinking water.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines have recently been updated with the revision of Chapter 8: Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals, and the associated 34 fact sheets. The complete Guidelines are provided in a newly bookmarked version.

Related information: 

Supporting documents

International meeting on the Management of Water Quality in Rural and Remote Communities

Outcomes of the WHO/NHMRC International meeting on management of small community drinking water quality Alice Springs in July 2005.

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Community Water Planner

The Community Water Planner is an electronic decision support tool to assist managers of small community drinking water supplies to generate management plans individually tailored to their local community.

Water made clear

This booklet looks at why drinking water is important, the journey water makes to our taps, the systems to ensure good water quality and how everyone can help safeguard our drinking water.

Review of coliforms as microbial indicators of drinking water quality

This paper describes the concept of indicator microorganisms and details the rationale behind their use. Current indicators are reviewed and their advantages and disadvantages discussed and alternative indicators are evaluated.

Overview of National and International Guidelines and Recommendations on the Assessment and Approval of Chemicals Used in the Treatment of Drinking Water

Australia does not have national processes for the regulation, control and use of chemicals used to treat drinking water. In order to initiate a national approach, NHMRC has commissioned a report to describe and compare the policies and procedures used by various national and international organisation and regulatory agencies to evaluate and approve chemicals for use in the treatment of drinking water.

Evaluation of Analytical Methods for Detection and Quantification of Cyanotoxins

This review is intended to provide guidance in the selection of appropriate methods for measuring cyanotoxins to assist water supply authorities and health authorities in interpretation and application of new cyanotoxin drinking water guidelines.

Chemicals used for treatment of drinking water supplies

NHMRC has examined a wide range of chemicals for treating water in Australia and has recommended those listed for use. To be acceptable, a chemical must have practical application (e.g. must clarify dirty water or removing harmful organisms) and none must be toxic when ingested in small doses in drinking water. This document is currently under review.

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