Data about Canberra's drinking water hardness and composition focusing on the following ions:

  • Calcium (Ca+2)
  • Chloride (Cl-)
  • Magnesium Mg+2
  • Sodium (Na+)
  • Sulfate (SO4-2)

The importance of these ions and water composition in relation to mash pH and the impact on yeast is really well explained in this article on brewing water basics courtesy of BrewersFriend and 'Understanding the Mash pH' from John Palmer's How To Brew.

In simplistic terms:

  • Calcium promotes clarity, flavour and stability in beer.
  • Chloride can make beers seem fuller and sweeter, the opposite effect to sulfate.
  • Magnesium is an important yeast nutrient however at higher concentrations can give a sour-bitter taste to beer.
  • Sodium at higher concentrations can cause beer to taste minerally or metallic.
  • Sulfate higlights hop bitterness, making beers seem drier and crisper.

According to John Palmer's article on Beer and Brewing, "a sulfate-to-chloride ratio of 2:1 or higher will tend to give the beer a drier, more assertive hop balance, while a beer with a ratio of 1:2 will tend to have a less bitter, rounder, and maltier balance".

Brewing water calculators:

2018-2019

pH, Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium and Sulphate levels Summary data for all water quality zones
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.0112007.178.727.828.09
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.051209.8819.6013.2316.81
Chloridemg/L<0.1483.7018.1011.2016.40
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.051200.834.741.844.36
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1483.009.304.609.10
Sulphatemg/L<0.448<0.434.2012.7025.00
Summary data for water quality zone 1: North Canberra and Gungahlin
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.013487.178.217.767.93
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.05369.8816.9013.1216.20
Chloridemg/L<0.1124.6014.7011.5014.60
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05360.834.551.784.23
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1123.109.004.408.70
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.423.8011.6023.30
Summary data for water quality zone 2: Belconnen
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.013247.478.427.858.07
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.053610.8016.4012.9316.20
Chloridemg/L<0.1124.8014.6011.5014.60
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05361.084.161.654.05
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1123.208.904.106.80
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.423.5012.3018.40
Summary data for water quality zone 3: South Canberra, Woden and Weston Creek
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012647.418.117.787.93
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.05249.8919.6013.0016.76
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.8018.1010.9016.30
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05241.044.741.884.34
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1123.009.304.809.20
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.434.2013.2028.70
Summary data for water quality zone 4: Tuggeranong
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012647.578.727.928.20
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.052410.8018.7014.0818.54
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.7017.4010.9017.30
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05241.014.442.154.38
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1123.109.105.308.80
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.428.0013.7026.60

2017-2018

pH, Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium and Sulphate levels Summary data for all water quality zones
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.0112056.828.917.788.03
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.0512010.3018.2013.9417.81
Chloridemg/L<0.1482.509.905.307.70
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.051200.764.351.834.19
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1482.708.404.608.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.448<0.424.808.1024.30
Summary data for water quality zone 1: North Canberra and Gungahlin
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.013486.828.017.707.86
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.053610.3018.0013.7317.05
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.007.605.207.40
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05360.784.261.764.19
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.808.204.508.00
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.424.607.5024.10
Summary data for water quality zone 2: Belconnen
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.013277.088.427.818.01
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.053610.9018.1014.0218.10
Chloridemg/L<0.1122.808.505.308.10
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05360.784.291.774.09
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.708.304.508.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.424.007.8024.00
Summary data for water quality zone 3: South Canberra, Woden and Weston Creek
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012657.108.137.747.93
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.052410.7017.5013.6216.81
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.007.105.107.10
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05240.814.351.904.22
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.808.404.708.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.423.807.9023.70
Summary data for water quality zone 4: Tuggeranong
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012657.508.917.888.29
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.052411.1018.2014.4617.83
Chloridemg/L<0.1122.509.905.708.70
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05240.764.331.944.01
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.808.404.708.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.412<0.424.809.1024.60

2016-2017

pH, Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium and Sulphate levels Data not currently avilable.

2015-2016

pH, Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Sodium and Sulphate levels Summary data for all water quality zones
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.0110817.328.897.838.16
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.0512210.3018.0012.9016.40
Chloridemg/L<0.1482.809.204.307.70
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.051220.683.931.343.60
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1482.608.403.707.40
Sulphatemg/L<0.4480.6028.005.1025.00
Summary data for water quality zone 1: North Canberra and Gungahlin
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012837.408.457.778.05
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.052910.7016.0012.7216.00
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.108.304.407.60
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05360.834.551.784.23
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.807.403.606.60
Sulphatemg/L<0.4120.7028.004.9025.30
Summary data for water quality zone 2: Belconnen
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012827.408.807.868.12
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.053610.6018.0013.0117.25
Chloridemg/L<0.1122.807.804.207.60
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05360.683.501.313.40
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.607.403.707.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.4120.6025.004.9025.00
Summary data for water quality zone 3: South Canberra, Woden and Weston Creek
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012567.408.167.787.97
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.053210.4016.4012.6116.00
Chloridemg/L<0.1123.007.604.307.40
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05320.753.901.503.70
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.607.503.807.30
Sulphatemg/L<0.4120.6025.005.5024.50
Summary data for water quality zone 4: Tuggeranong
AnalyteUnitsLimit of ReportingNumber of SamplesMinimumMaximumMean95th Percentile
pHpH<0.012607.328.897.928.40
Calcium dissolvedmg/L<0.052510.3017.0013.2916.88
Chloridemg/L<0.1122.909.204.408.30
Magnesium dissolvedmg/L<0.05250.683.931.363.28
Sodium dissolvedmg/L<0.1122.708.403.807.70
Sulphatemg/L<0.4120.7025.005.1025.00

Canberra Annual Drinking Water Quality Reports.