- Sydney’s Warragamba Dam in August 2007 received very heavy rainfall which cooled the water and stirred up nutrients, triggering an algae outbreak. This adversely affected the quality of the water in the dam.
- Melbourne’s in 2009 was lucky to avoid a water supply catastrophe after the large bushfire. Barely escaping the fire, the water supplies would have been in serious danger if a large downpour followed. The rain would have brought phosphorous and ash from the burnt vegetation, including pathogens and other toxic substances.
- Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam in 2013 overflowed in the Brisbane River and threatened a repetition of the floods from 2011. The city almost ran out of drinking water as the treatment plants were unable to cope with the muddy water stirred up. Thankfully, the city was able to tap into the Gold Coast’s desalination plant at the time.
Many people take the main water supply to their homes for granted. Australian water utilities, according to an international research and assessment, must adapt to extreme weather events in order to secure vulnerable water sources and assure clean drinking water in the future. Extreme weather in Australia threatens the country’s main water supply. The survey discovered that extreme weather events, including as droughts and bushfires, followed by cyclones, torrential downpours, and flooding, all had an impact on the quality of surface water. Dr Stuart Khan of the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering gave the following examples: