Main content of the website

  • font sizeA
  • A
  • A

Discoloured Water

Discoloured Water FAQ's


Discoloured water usually doesn't last long.  Water main work in the area or water main cleaning may cause water to be discoloured for under an hour.  A large water main break may cause water to be discoloured for a couple of hours.  If your water isn't clear after two or three hours, contact 204-362-6505.

Elevated levels of manganese are the major cause of the significant increase in reports of discoloured water.

What is manganese?

Manganese is a naturally-occurring element that can be found universally in the air, soil, and water.  It is an essential nutrient for humans and animals, with humans getting most of their manganese through food.

Click here to view Manganese in Manitoba Water Supplies.

Dirty or discoloured water is from a change in flow of water in the system.  This can cause sediment in the water pipes to loosen and be released into the water.  The change of flow may be caused by activities such as water main breaks, firefighting or water main cleaning.

Although discoloured water may smell, taste or look unpleasant, none of the tests or information to date indicates any microbial issues with the water, such as presence of disease-causing bacteria, protozoa or viruses. 

We recommend that you not use discoloured water for any purposes that required clean water, such as for drinking, preparing food and beverages, or laundry.  We recommend this because discoloured water does not taste, smell or look pleasant, and it can stain clothes.  Health officials do not recommend drinking discoloured water but if small amounts are consumed accidentally, no harm is expected.

To check if discoloured water has passed:

  • Turn on a cold water tap and let the water run for a few minutes.  It is best to use a bathtub tap as there is no screen to trap any sediment.  You can collect this water and use it to water your plants.
  • Catch some water in a light-coloured cup.  If the water isn't clear, turn off the tap, wait 30 minutes and try again.  Discoloured water usually doesn't last long.  If your water still isn't clear after two to three hours, contact the Utilities Department at 204-362-6505.