Ensuring safe drinking water
During and immediately following a disaster
Local councils and water utilities have an obligation to alert the public if they know or suspect the safety of the water has been compromised as a result of a disaster. Listen to your local radio and TV station or check your local council’s website (if possible) for updates on the water supply. It is important that any advice provided through these channels is followed
Make water safe
If your local council or water utility knows or suspects drinking the water might make you sick because of disease-causing microbes they will advise you to boil the water before consumption. Water should be brought to the boil and then allowed to cool in clean, covered containers before use. Boiled water can scald so it is safer to use a kettle rather than pots and pans. If you have no electricity and have to use pots, always take care with young children and vulnerable people. Keep pan handles turned inward so children cannot reach them. The use of bottled water is another safe alternative. Use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for:
- preparing food and cooking
- making ice
- preparing baby formula
- brushing teeth
- hand washing
- bathing infants
Dirty dishes should be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed in hot water and left to completely air-dry before using again. You don’t need boiled water for toilet flushing and clothes washing.
Water contaminated by chemicals (including fuels) will not be made safe by boiling. Use a different source of water if you know or suspect that water might be contaminated with chemicals.
- Call 13 QGov (13 74 68) or contact your nearest Queensland Health public health unit
- visit the Get Ready Queensland website
- Make drinking water safe - poster (PDF 80kb)