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Media Statements : Statement Details

Hon Terry Redman MLA

    Advanced recycling to help secure water supply

    Thursday, 1 August 2013
    • Recycling scheme to help secure Perth’s water supply
    • Initiative will supply 7 billion litres of water every year
    • Landmark three-year trial proves resounding success
    • All 62,300 water quality samples met strict health and environmental guidelines

    The State Government is adopting world-class water recycling technology to help secure Perth’s drinking water supply after a successful three-year groundwater replenishment trial.


    The technology has the potential to supply up to 20 per cent of Perth’s drinking water needs in decades to come.


    Water Minister Terry Redman said the treatment process had already been adopted successfully overseas, including the United States, and was a significant step towards drought-proofing Perth.


    “Groundwater replenishment will underpin Perth’s water security at a time of reduced rainfall. It adds another water supply option for the city, building diversity for the future and complementing other initiatives, such as desalination,” Mr Redman said.


    The recycling scheme uses advanced treatment processes to successfully turn household and industry wastewater into drinking water.


    The water is purified before it is re-injected into natural aquifers, mixing with groundwater, and undergoing natural filtration for up to three decades before extraction.


    “This advanced treatment process means that the water is actually pure before we put it back in the aquifers for naturalisation - it will be there for potentially up to 30 years before it will flow out of taps again,” the Minister said.


    “By the time the water is extracted, it will be the same as any other groundwater in this aquifer.”


    Mr Redman said the Water Corporation’s landmark trial over three years had to comply with 254 health guidelines and had been a resounding success.


    “The trial recycled 2,533 megalitres of water - that’s the equivalent of 1,000 Olympic-size swimming pools - and returned an outstanding result in terms of meeting water quality guidelines,” he said.


    “All of the 62,300 water quality samples that were taken met the required strict health and safety guidelines.”


    The Minister said the groundwater recycling initiative would initially supply seven billion litres of water every year.


    It was less expensive than a desalination plant, and used about half the energy of a desalination plant.


    Mr Redman said groundwater replenishment technology had been used successfully in Orange County, California since the 1970s. Singapore also recycles a portion of its wastewater for its water supply scheme.


             Fact File

    • The site has the potential to recycle up to 28GL and supply up to 20% of Perth’s drinking water needs in future decades
    • Telephone surveys, focus groups and community event surveys reported community support levels for groundwater replenishment between 70 and 76%
    • Three-year trial endorsed by regulators departments of Health, Water and Environment Regulation

    Minister’s office - 6552 6700