ACT Water Cycle

Water flows through a natural water cycle — this is the continuous movement of water between land, ocean and atmosphere. As it flows through this cycle water (a liquid) changes to steam (a gas), ice (a solid) and then back to liquid. 

We syphon water from this natural process to create an urban water cycle. 

ACT water cycle diagram

As clouds within our region become heavy, they release water as rain, sleet, hail or snow. The mountains to our east and south-west direct this water into the Cotter and Queanbeyan rivers — these are our water catchments. 

The water in these rivers supply our four dams, which then feeds the ACT’s urban water cycle. 

Through pipelines, and pumping stations, the water from these dams begins a journey to our water treatment plants. Here the water undergoes a process of filtration and disinfection to become high-quality drinking water ready for your tap. 

From here, the water travels to suburban reservoirs located on hills throughout Canberra. These tanks supply drinking, washing and cleaning water to their surrounding suburbs. 

Once this water has left your home, it begins travelling towards one of our wastewater treatment plants through the wastewater network. Our plants treat, process and clean your wastewater so it can be released into the Murrumbidgee River. 

This freshly treated water rejoins the natural water cycle by travelling down the Murray river system to enter the ocean just south of Adelaide. 

We’re always happy to help 

For general queries, you can contact us directly at  

If you need a bit more assistance, or just prefer talking to a person, you can call us on 02 6248 3111