You should prepare a report on the two reservoirs and their operation. The following issues should be included in the report:

Physical data on the dams (volume, area, depth, wall construction,age, etc)

  • Current holding and % of capacity. Is it increasing? How do the holdings at Winneke and Cardinia compare to other storage reservoirs?
  • The sources of water in the dams (including catchment area/uses). Does the water come from protected catchments?
  • A full description of the purification treatments given to the water at Winneke. What is the purpose of each treatment?
  • The uses to which the dam and the treated water are put (residential, agricultural, industrial etc). How much water is discharged to the original watercourse(s) below the Sugarloaf reservoir? Would you expect removal of water from the Yarra have an environmental impact on that river?
  • A discussion of the general problem of supply of potable water to Melbourne, measures proposed to alleviate this problem and the relative merits of these measures. You should include in this discussion the impact that recent fires might have on water storage and water quality.

The report should not just be a compilation of facts but should also include a discussion on whether the storages are being operated in a scientifically sound and environmentally sustainable manner.

You need to consult the Melbourne Water web site to get relevant information :




To start with, there is no doubt in the fact that Melbourne has been facing some serious issues of shortage of safe water supply. This particular report attempts to provide information regarding two well-known reservoirs namely; the Sugarloaf Reservoir and the Cardinia Reservoir. Moreover, it also offers a detailed insight into the purification method of water at Winneke. Lastly, the report highlights the situation of potable water supply shortage in Melbourne and ways to deal with it.



About Sugarloaf Reservoir


Sugarloaf Reservoir was initiated during the closing stages of the 1970’s so as to enhance Melbourne’s domestic water provision and was completed in 1981 (ABS, 2006). Unlike several other Reservoirs that obtain their water straightforwardly from secure forested catchments, the reservoir is fed through the Maroondah Aqueduct as well as the Yarra River. Moreover, on leaving the Sugarloaf Reservoir, water is systematically treated at Winneke Water Treatment Plant following the WHO (World Health Organization) rules, prior to reaching domestic water supply of Melbourne (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). The Reservoir is situated in north-east region of Melbourne. The total capacity Sugarloaf Reservoir is 96 GL. According to researches the reservoir reported a capacity of 67.1% in February 2010. The reservoir that is rockfill embankment and upstream concrete face has the area of catchment of 915 hectares. The maximum height of the dam is 89 metres and the reservoir has length of around 1,050 metres and surface area of around 440 hectares. The total available capacity of the reservoir is 96,253 megalitres and it reported a capacity of 93,561 megalitres as on March 2012. Further, the water from the reservoir goes to Northern, central and western suburbs (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008).


About Cardinia Reservoir


Cardinia Reservoir is located in south-eastern suburbs area of Melbourne (Australia). The construction of Cardinia Reservoir began during May 1970 and was finished during the year 1973 at a budget of above 11.4 million dollars (Newman, 1999). Since the water supplies of Melbourne struggled through the period of 1960s with the requirement for extra water storage turned out to be apparent (Kawamura, 2000). Cardinia Creek extended from the Western Port Bay to Dandenong Ranges, passing through several small but well specified hills located on south of outer suburb of Emerald. This located was considered to be appropriate for a new reservoir. Moreover, with the creation of one huge embankment to function as the dam wall as well as few other saddle dams within nearby hills, the big water storage capability of the Cardinia Reservoir was established (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). The area of catchment of this reservoir is 2,800 and has height of around 85 metres. Apart from this, the length calculated beside top of dam is around 1,542 metres as well as the Surface area is about 1,295 hectares (Kawamura, 2000). This huge reservoir holds a total capacity of about 286,911 megalitres. According to the studies the reservoir reported the volume 203,951 megalitres during February 2012. Further, the water from the Reservoir travels to Southern-eastern and southern suburbs along with the Mornington Peninsula.



Water Sources in the Dams


The continuing sections highlight the various sources of water in the dams.


Forested (closed) catchments


About 80% of drinking water arises from the closed water catchments within the Yarra Ranges. About 157,000 hectares of the total forest has been closed for the people for more than 100 years (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). These forests strain rainwater when it pours down across the land into rivers, creeks and the reservoir storages (Kawamura, 2000).


Inside the forested catchments

The foresight of the city creators in locating apart land for storing and catching storing water has offered a fantastic legacy. Such catchments have continued to be largely untouched for the period of above 100 years, upholding the biodiversity of ecosystem (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008).


Open Catchments

The majority of cities obtain their water supply from open catchments. Not like the closed catchments, these regions have mixed land usage such as farming rather than being utilized entirely to harvest water (Kawamura, 2000). Around 20% of the total Melbourne’s water supply arises from open catchments. Moreover, water supplied from open catchments needs to go through proper filtration and treatment in order to ensure it satisfies the same needs like the water supply from closed catchments (, 2012).



Going further, Melbourne includes few of the cleanest and safest drinking water within the world (Kawamura, 2000). What pours out into the water catchments is fairly close to what pours down of the water taps. Any procedures that could pollute or contaminate the water aren’t permitted in the catchments as well as the reservoirs. This takes in swimming, fishing, boating and hunting. Usually long storage times of water are allowed in the reservoirs i.e. for around 5 years. This makes possible for the water to be filtered by way of settling along with natural disinfection methods such as sunlight (, 2012). This implies only small amount of disinfection with chloramine, chlorine or ultra-violet irradiation is required to ensure safety and health.



Winneke Water Purification Process


The Winneke Water Treatment Plant located in Christmas Hills, fulfills around 50 percent of daily water needs of Melbourne (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008).  It is linked to Sugarloaf Reservoir that obtains water supply from the Yarra River as well as the Maroondah Reservoir. It is considered to be the chief water treatment plant within Melbourne. Moreover, water treatment takes in several steps including; Coagulation, Clarification, Filtration, Disinfection and pH correction and lastly, Fluoridation.




The unprocessed water is poured into the inlet control framework of Winneke from the reservoir, where it’s combined with alum (aluminium sulphate) which is in liquid form. The aluminium sulphate works as a coagulant, assisting suspended solids as well as the microorganisms present in unprocessed water to join and create bigger particles (Kawamura, 2000).




The water after that travels through means of an underground network to water circulation chamber which, serves the four clarifiers (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). The water is disseminated within the clarifiers for around the period of 3 hours. It is believed that the clarifiers perks up the cohesion along with the suspended solids entrapment and also eliminate color from water. Moreover, the solid particles are removed from unprocessed water formulating what is called the settled water and the sludge (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008).



After clarification stage the ‘settled water’ is transferred via concrete channels to twelve distinct gravity filters that eliminate the majority of the residual suspended solids (Kawamura, 2000). All the 12 filters are rectangular, concrete frameworks having a sand bed held through a course media layer which is held on layer of pebbles.


PH correction and Disinfection


After the water moves through the filters, it’s disinfected through chlorination so as to kill remaining microbes (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). Small amount of chlorine is added to destroy the disease-causing microbes that may be present within the water. Moreover, lime is also added in order to regulate the acidity or alkalinity (PH) level (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). The completely treated water runs into a huge surrounded storage reservoir next to treatment plant. The storage reservoir is buffer storage and the water is released from it as and when needed. Due to the fact that fluoride and chlorine are somewhat acidic, thus lime is added with the purpose to neutralize the water (Kawamura, 2000). This is reason as to why the fittings and pipes in the homes don’t corrode. Further, these chemicals are properly scrutinized and regulated to make sure that the right amounts are inserted into the water (, 2012).




It has been made compulsory as per the State Government legislation under 1973 Health (Fluoridation) Act to add fluoride to water supply (Kawamura, 2000). A number of researches highlight the fact that flouride aids to a lot in keeping teeth healthy and strong. Australian government health associations, the National Medical and Health Research Council (NHMRC), ADA (the Australian Dental Association) and lastly, the WHO (World Health Organization) all encourage the fluoridation of supply of drinking water (, 2012).




The Uses of Treated Water



The recycled water obtained from Melbourne’s one of the major water treatment plant i.e. Winneke is utilized onsite or offered to the customers offsite (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). On the basis of the degree of treatment done, the recycled water could be utilized for various purposes such as irrigating market gardens and farms, providing water to gardens and parks as well as zoological gardens, various industrial procedures, toilet flushing, garden watering, the habitat conservation, washing and cooling within mills and power stations and lastly, fire fighting (Kawamura, 2000). The utilization of recycled water relies on the amount of treatment the particular water has received. For instance, the class A recycled water is harmless for the majority of uses apart from drinking, swimming and cooking. Moreover, there exist several procedures on what recycled water could be actually used for and the way it must be controlled, on the basis of its quality. These guiding principles are basically to protect the people and the surroundings (Kawamura, 2000). People, who make use of recycled water, need to supervise and report their usage regularly so as to make sure that all standards have been properly met. Moving ahead, the water obtained from the water treatment plant could be utilized for just anything, provided that the water has been treated up to the appropriate level. The correct level of treatment greatly depends on how the recycled water would be utilized. For instance, would recycled water be utilized to water parks, gardens or fruit orchards? Or, would it be utilized to cool down power stations?


Taking a step ahead, Urbanisation as well as land clearing for agricultural and urban uses has resulted in altered flows in the majority of waterways within the Yarra catchment (, 2012). Therefore, various creeks within the catchment are regarded to be flow strained and the focus is now on ensuring that the environmental flow needs within these waterways are fulfilled. Although, the forested upper catchment provides outstanding habitat, the amount and the quality of habitat within several urban and rural waterways is efficient due to erosion, farming techniques, weeds and alterations in river flows.



Supply of Potable Water to Melbourne


The safety of water supply in Melbourne is undoubtedly a great area of concern and attracting a large amount of attention from government entities, the public and the media (Kawamura, 2000). With several chief augmentation projects at different stages of construction and planning, water storages and customers experiencing the prospects of water bills are continuously increasing. Several measures have been proposed to deal with such shortage of clean water in Melbourne including incremented conservation and effectiveness; collection of stormwater; reusing the treated wastewater; making use of groundwater; small domestically based desalination plants and other optional water source regarded to be suitable (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008). All these measures if followed and implemented properly and regularly can surely make a difference in the situation of water shortage.


Moving ahead, large scale bushfires continue to be the greatest issue for water supply and water quality within the catchment areas of Melbourne’s (Kawamura, 2000). Even a small fire in the water catchments could rapidly rule out any increment in water yield that could be attained through altering harvesting patterns. Bushfires have a negative and a very devastating impact on the availability of potatble water and also results in a lot of destruction. For instance, a distressing bushfires in the year 2009 destroyed around 30 percent of water supply catchments of Melbourne to some extent (, 2012). The majority of this was within the Maroondah and O’Shannassy catchments. A huge amount of water was transferred to Cardinia Reservoir, as a safety measure. The maximum amount of Melbourne’s water supply comes from 160,000 hectares of forested catchments within the north-east of Melbourne. For this reason, it is essential to safeguard these native forests from destruction by using several measures like closed catchments (catchments off-limits to the people diminishes the danger of fires); early warning and detection and lastly, fire breaks that are devised to prevent the spread of fire (Pamminger and Kenway, 2008).



ABS (2006) Water Account Australia 2004-05, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.


Kawamura, S. (2000) Integrated Design of Water Treatment Facilities (2nd ed.), John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York.


Newman, P. W. G. (1999) Sustainability and cities: extending the metabolism model, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 219-226.


Pamminger, F. and Kenway, S. J. (2008) Urban metabolism – a concept to improve the sustainability of the urban water sector, Journal of the Australian Water Association, Vol. 5, pp. 12.


Water Storages (2012) Melbourne Water [Online], Date Accessed: 27/03/2012.


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ABS (2006) Water Account Australia 2004-05, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

Kawamura, S. (2000) Integrated Design of Water Treatment Facilities (2nd ed.), John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York.

Newman, P. W. G. (1999) Sustainability and cities: extending the metabolism model, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 219-226.

Pamminger, F. and Kenway, S. J. (2008) Urban metabolism – a concept to improve the sustainability of the urban water sector, Journal of the Australian Water Association, Vol. 5, pp. 12.

Water Storages (2012) Melbourne Water [Online], Date Accessed: 27/03/2012.