A water supply disruption emergency can occur due to failures that impact the delivery (quantity) of water, or its quality, particularly potable water for drinking.

Examples of significant water supply disruption in Victoria include:

  • the Millennium Drought, thirteen consecutive years of drought between 1997 and 2009 leading to severe water shortages in many areas in 2016-17
  • undisinfected water entering the water supply system due to storm damage in August 2020, leading to 88 suburbs being instructed not to use water, unless boiled.

The Managing Extreme Water Shortage in Victoria: Lessons from the Millennium Drought report documented the experiences of water managers across Victoria during the drought.

All links in the table below will open in a new window.
Publish year Assurance activity Summary Organisation
2022 Annual report on drinking water quality in Victoria 2020-21 (External link) A summary of Victoria's drinking water quality performance, including vulnerabilities, lessons/mitigation, and addressing future risk, the report recognises the ongoing efforts made by water agencies in delivering high-quality drinking water to Victorians and the department’s regulatory role in achieving this outcome, along with protecting public health. Department of Health
2021 Supplying and Using Recycled Water (External link) An audit that assessed if responsible agencies are increasing the use of recycled water to meet future water demand, it concluded that recycled water use in Victoria has not increased over the last decade. The report made three recommendations to DELWP - to improve community understanding; to measure and report recycled water use; and to develop guidelines for using recycled water for environmental flows. Victorian Auditor-General's Office
2021 Victoria’s water in a changing climate (External link) A report that allows for a better understanding of how Victoria’s climate and hydrology are changing through a mix of historic observations and future projections, and, most importantly, how this will impact the state’s water resources in the short and long term. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
2021 National Water Reform 2020 - Inquiry Report (External link) An assessment of the progress of the Australian, State and Territory governments' achievement of objectives and outcomes of the National Water Initiative (NWI) since 2017, providing practical advice to governments on future directions for national water reform through renewal of the NWI. Productivity Commission
2019 Security of Water Infrastructure Control Systems (External link) An audit examining whether control systems in the water sector are secure, it reviewed governance arrangements over these control systems for four water providers: Barwon Water (BW), Melbourne Water (MW), VDP and Yarra Valley Water (YVW). Victorian Auditor-General's Office
2016 Managing extreme water shortages in Victoria – Lessons from the Millennium Drought (External link) A report documenting the experiences of water managers across Victoria during the drought, it highlights the lessons learned about water planning and management. The report captures the steps taken to address low water resource availability and to ensure equitable, efficient and appropriate use of water, including changes to water resource management and investment in infrastructure, water efficiency and behavioural change programs. The report provides an insight into how the Victorian water entitlement and water planning framework was strengthened to manage future dry climate conditions. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning