Water filters: do you need one?

A water filter may improve the taste or smell of your tap water, but be aware of the problems and cost involved.
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  • Updated:19 Oct 2008

02.Do you need one?

Tap water is one of our most important basic necessities. And generally, most Australians don’t have to worry about getting sick from the water they’re supplied with. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines specify that water “should contain no harmful concentrations of chemicals or pathogenic micro-organisms, and ideally it should be aesthetically pleasing in regard to appearance, taste and odour.”

Water authorities use settling, coagulation, filtering and disinfecting to ensure the safety of our drinking water, using sufficient disinfectant to stop the re-growth of microorganisms as the water travels through the pipe system to your home.

The downside of ensuring safe drinking water is the lingering taste and smell of disinfectant. If you fill up a jug with tap water and leave it to sit for a couple of hours, the disinfectant smell and taste will gradually dissipate, but many people opt for a water filtering system.

When you turn on your tap, you should see clear, un-cloudy water. If not, or it tastes strange, then there are ways to find out why.

The bottled water industry

Australians spend around $385 million a year on bottled water, and more negative light has been shone on the product lately with regard to its life cycle. It takes so much energy to obtain the water from the source and produce the bottles that the water is transported in, plus its transport energy, refrigeration energy and recycling that adds to that energy footprint — though only 35% actually gets recycled. Most bottles end up in the landfill.

Recently councils in some areas have made the decision to discourage the use of bottled water. As the negative aspects of bottled water accrue, the convenience of buying bottled water is becoming less important than taking a few minutes to prepare your own re-usable bottle from the tap or filtered source before heading out.


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