1998 Sydney water crisis

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Warragamba Dam

1998 Sydney water crisis

The 1998 Sydney water crisis was a significant event in the history of Sydney, Australia, involving the contamination of the city's water supply. The crisis began in July 1998 and continued until September 1998, affecting the drinking water of over three million residents.

Background[edit | edit source]

Sydney's water supply is primarily sourced from the Warragamba Dam, which is one of the largest domestic water supply dams in the world. The dam is part of the Sydney Catchment Authority's network, which manages the water supply for the city and surrounding areas.

Contamination[edit | edit source]

In late July 1998, routine testing of Sydney's water supply detected the presence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia, two protozoan parasites that can cause gastrointestinal illness. The contamination was initially detected at the Prospect Water Filtration Plant, which is responsible for treating a significant portion of Sydney's water.

Response[edit | edit source]

Upon detection of the contamination, the New South Wales government and the Sydney Water Corporation issued a series of boil water alerts, advising residents to boil their water before consumption. This precaution was necessary to kill the parasites and prevent illness. The alerts were issued in stages, affecting different parts of the city at different times.

The government also launched an investigation to determine the source of the contamination. The investigation revealed that heavy rainfall and runoff had overwhelmed the filtration systems at the Prospect Water Filtration Plant, allowing the parasites to enter the water supply.

Impact[edit | edit source]

The crisis had a significant impact on the residents of Sydney, causing widespread concern and inconvenience. Many people experienced gastrointestinal illnesses, although the exact number of cases was not officially recorded. The crisis also had economic implications, as businesses and restaurants had to take additional measures to ensure the safety of their water supply.

Resolution[edit | edit source]

The boil water alerts remained in place until September 1998, when the water supply was declared safe for consumption. The Sydney Water Corporation and the New South Wales government implemented several measures to prevent future contamination, including upgrading the filtration systems and improving monitoring and testing procedures.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The 1998 Sydney water crisis led to increased public awareness of water quality issues and the importance of maintaining robust water treatment infrastructure. It also prompted changes in regulatory practices and the establishment of more stringent water quality standards.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Sydney Water Corporation


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