Erica Digap / Jun 25

Is Brisbane, Australia Tap Water Safe To Drink? 

Erica Digap / Jun 25

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors and epic adventures, you should definitely add Brisbane, Australia to your travel bucket list! Brisbane, which is the capital city of Queensland, is best known for its proximity to beautiful beaches, national parks, and the world-famous Australia Zoo. It’s a perfect spot for outdoorsy folks who love an adventure, whether you’re just passing through as a tourist or are looking for a permanent residence on the Australian East Coast.

While you’re enjoying all of the natural wonders that Brisbane has to offer, you might be wondering about the quality of its drinking water, especially in a country as stricken by droughts as Australia. Here’s what we know about Brisbane’s tap water quality, including some potential contaminants that may warrant the use of extra filtration. 

Key Takeaways

What to know about Brisbane, Australia’s drinking water

The majority of Brisbane’s tap water comes from the SEQ Water Grid, a water supply infrastructure that covers the entire southeast region of Queensland, Australia. This water supply system is managed by Seqwater, the local water regulating corporation that operates the bulk water supply chain in the area, and then distributed by Urban Utilities. 

Most of the water on the SEQ Water Grid is surface water supplied by rain and held in various dams throughout the area. However, because Australia is so subject to dryness and droughts, some of the drinking water also comes from the Gold Coast Desalination Plant which uses reverse osmosis to treat water from the ocean, removing salt to make it safe for human consumption. Finally, about 20% of Brisbane’s drinking water demand comes from recycled and purified wastewater that has been treated at the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme. 

After water is collected from the dams and desalination plants, it is treated by various filtration and purification processes at water treatment plants. It is also tested against the Australian Drinking Water Guideline to ensure that it is safe to drink. As a result, the water in Brisbane is generally safe to drink. However, there are still some potential water quality issues which can be taken care of by an extra filtration step in your home. 


Pesticide and herbicide contamination is one of Australia’s biggest contamination problems, especially in a region that is as dependent on agriculture as Queensland. According to Friends of the Earth Australia, thousands of these chemicals have been detected in drinking water supplies throughout Queensland. 

The Brisbane River is particularly contaminated by pesticides, especially when compared to estuaries in Sydney and Melbourne. Of particular interest is the level of atrazine, an herbicide that is used to protect crops from weeds. Granted, the levels of atrazine that have been tested in Brisbane’s water are far below the limits set by the Australian government. However, other governments including the European Union consider atrazine much more dangerous than Australia does and have even banned the use of atrazine altogether because it is thought to be an endocrine disruptor that affects hormones and may even affect male fertility. 


“Forever chemicals” polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are another issue in both Brisbane and Australia at large. These man-made chemicals are used in a variety of industries: for example, they are used to make non-stick coatings on pots and pans, can be found in some pesticides, and are even used to make firefighting foam. These PFAS can then escape into the environment where they remain for years without degrading. PFAS contamination has become a hot-topic issue in recent years since they are thought to be linked to health issues like 

One study found that certain areas of Australia are hotspots for PFAS. In Queensland alone, more than 60 locations have been identified as being contaminated by PFAS. Most notably in Brisbane, there was an enormous spill of PFAS-containing firefighting foam that contaminated nearby waterways and ultimately led to a complete ban of the foam altogether. 

Other issues: climate change and storms 

Finally, in a country that is so subject to droughts, storms, and flooding, it’s worth noting how those environmental factors can affect the water quality. 

In 2022, some Brisbane residents reported noticing an earthy change in the taste and smell of their tap water, which according to Seqwater was due to rains and floods that introduced naturally occurring organic compounds called 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin into the water. These compounds are produced by either algae or photosynthetic bacteria. They are reportedly safe to drink, but they still led to a temporary (and unsavory) dirty tap water taste and odor. 

In addition, the water shortages that face Australia also present a challenge in Brisbane’s need to provide enough water for its residents. Because the surface water levels are so subject to drought, Brisbane gets some of its water from recycled wastewater and desalinated ocean water. While these water sources are monitored and treated, they can be expensive and hard to maintain.  

The Bottom Line: While Brisbane’s tap water is technically safe to drink, it’s always a good idea to run it through a water filter first. 

The tap water in Brisbane water is generally good quality and considered safe to drink. However, with potential chemical and organic contamination, you should consider running it through a water filter prior to drinking. The LARQ Bottle Filtered uses Nano Zero and zerovalent iron technology, which filters out contaminants like herbicides and PFAS in addition to other common water contaminants like heavy metals, chlorine, and VOCs. If you’re looking for a countertop solution to filter all of your household water, the LARQ Pitcher PureVis can both filter and purify your tap water for clean, tasty, and refreshing hydration. By utilizing these water filters, you can enjoy a natural resource without compromising on taste or quality.