We contribute to the ongoing development of the National Water Quality Management Strategy. The strategy aims to protect our water resources while delivering good-quality water to meet the needs of communities, businesses, industry and the environment.

Under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992, NHMRC has a responsibility to issue guidelines and advise the community, the Commonwealth, and States and Territories on matters relating to the improvement of health and the prevention of disease.

To achieve this, NHMRC contribution to National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS) is ongoing. The NWQMS is a joint national approach to improving water quality in Australian and New Zealand waterways and is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The NWQMS aims to protect the nation's water resources, by improving water quality while supporting the businesses, industry, environment and communities that depend on water for their continued development.

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) (2011)

The ADWG are one part of the NWQMS (Document 6) and provide an authoritative reference to the Australian community and the water supply industry on what defines safe, good quality drinking water, how it can be achieved and how it can be assured.

Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water (GMRRW)

The GMRRW are part of the NWQMS (Document 5) and their purpose is to protect human health from threats posed by the recreational use of coastal, estuarine and fresh waters.

Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies

The Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies (Document 22 of the NWQMS) extend the guidance given in Phase 1 on the planned use of recycled water (treated sewage and storm water) to augment drinking water supplies. The Guidelines focus on the water source, initial treatment processes and blending of recycled water with drinking water sources.

Water Quality Advisory Committee (WQAC)

The WQAC provides expert advice to NHMRC on public health issues related to drinking water quality. The major role of WQAC is the rolling review of the ADWG. 

Drinking Water Disinfection By-Products Advisory Committee

NHMRC’s Drinking Water Disinfection By-Products Advisory Committee (formerly known as the Disinfection By-Products Advisory Committee) will provide expert and scientific advice to NHMRC on the evidence of health effects from drinking water disinfection by-products (DBPs) and the management of DBPs in drinking water.

Other Activities

Community Water Planner

The Community Water Planner (the Tool) is a web-based tool to assist managers of remote community water supplies in managing microbiological, physical, chemical and radiological water quality risks.

Health effects of water fluoridation

In Australia, community water fluoridation programs are considered a safe and effective way of reducing tooth decay across the population.

Public consultation

In accordance with Section 13 of the NHMRC Act 1992, the public must be invited to make submissions on draft amendments to the ADWG, GMRRW and/or Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling:  Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies..

Further information

For further information on NHMRC’s work on Water Quality and Health, or to join our Water stakeholder mailing list please contact water@nhmrc.gov.au.