Urban water storage reservoirs

There are 47 primary and secondary service reservoirs in the Canberra water supply system. These reservoirs store water for later distribution to households. Most reservoirs in the ACT are filled from the treatment plant using gravity to help the water flow downhill through the pipes to the reservoirs. Where reservoirs are too high to be filled by gravity, pump stations are used to move the water. There are 18 pump stations around Canberra that help water reach the higher reservoirs, especially at times of high water use. They help the water network cope with changes in water demand and help manage the water pressure so that water flows out of taps at the speed people expect.

Reservoirs may be above or below ground. Underground tanks are often rectangular with a concrete lining. Above ground reservoirs are often circular tanks made of concrete or steel. Where possible, reservoirs are placed on high ground so that gravity will help provide enough pressure to push the water through the pipes. All reservoirs have enclosed roofs to prevent contamination from birds, animals and wind-borne debris and they are designed to blend in with the environment.

The service reservoirs provide storage for between 450 ML and 680 ML (or 620 megalitres (ML) and 800ML of water. That's 620,000,000 to 800,000,000 litres of water!). Regular inspections are conducted to ensure there has been no unauthorised entry. There is also a program in place for reservoir cleaning. The program ensures reservoirs will be cleaned and inspected regularly. Each reservoir is routinely monitored for total coliforms, thermo tolerant coliforms, heterotrophic plate count, temperature and chlorine levels. Treatment of water at the reservoir can be carried out if required.