28. October 2021

Sydney’s new water strategy explores use of recycled sewage – again


Sydneysiders will probably be inspired to think about the use of purified sewage for consuming water to assist diversify provides because the inhabitants grows and rainfall patterns shift below local weather change.

The proposal to discover the use of recycled water for potable makes use of, together with the development of an indication plant, is amongst a variety of choices detailed within the draft Greater Sydney Water Strategy launched for public session on Tuesday.

Warragamba Dam fell to less than 43 per cent full during the depths of the 2020 drought.

Warragamba Dam fell to lower than 43 per cent full in the course of the depths of the 2020 drought. Credit:Brook Mitchell

During Sydney’s 2020 drought, reservoir ranges dropped at an unprecedented fee of about one-fifth of capability a 12 months. As dams had been presently nearly full, the time was ripe “to act decisively to secure sustainable water for the long term”, NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey mentioned.

“We need to plan now for how our growing city and region will use water wisely as Sydney’s population is set to grow to 7.1 million by 2041,” she mentioned.

“Our analysis shows that we will need to invest in additional water supply in the next five to 10 years, then again around 2040 and once more by 2060.”

Asked concerning the report’s assist for the use of purified recycled water for consuming, Ms Pavey mentioned, “The review highlighted a range of options, and we’re eager to hear what options the community wish to further explore.”


Stuart Khan, a professor on the University of NSW and a member of the Independent Metropolitan Water Advisory Panel, mentioned the draft plan “quite plainly” represented a shift within the tone of earlier official statements about growing so-known as rainfall-impartial provides, comparable to extracting pure water from sewage.

“As a community, Sydneysiders have not had an informed discussion about purified recycled water and I think it’s the right time to begin that discussion,” Professor Khan mentioned, stressing he was not talking on behalf of the panel.

“The proposal in the [strategy] is to develop a demonstration plant and that’s an excellent way to enable people to come and see what it’s all about,” he mentioned.

“People will be able to see the technology, understand the safety measures in place, and get to observe the high-quality water that is produced.”

The report famous Sydney was way more reliant on rainfall than different main Australian cities. The Harbour City can meet solely about 23 per cent of each day water demand if its desalination and present recycling vegetation are working at full tilt, in contrast with 34 per cent in Melbourne and about half in Perth and Adelaide.

“Our preliminary analysis shows that, over the past 30 years, average inflows to Sydney’s dams have been half the long-term average since records began in 1910, while significant flooding events have also occurred,” it mentioned. “Future climate risks and extreme events mean we cannot meet our water needs by only using traditional water supply approaches.”

Ensuring the desalination plant operates extra continuously might produce an additional 20 gigalitres water a 12 months. That tally, although, would nonetheless depart a projected brief-time period deficit of as a lot as 70 gigalitres a 12 months. (Current sustainable provide ranges are between 515 and 540 gigalitres a 12 months, or concerning the quantity of water held by Sydney Harbour.)

“Increasing our rainfall-independent supply means we can enter periods of drought with higher storage levels in our dams, slow down storage depletion rates in times of drought and improve our response to shocks in the system, such as when bushfires or floods pose water treatment challenges,” it mentioned.

Warragamba Dam spilling throughout final March’s floods. It was sitting at 96.3 per cent full on Monday, nearly the identical as a 12 months in the past.Credit:WaterNSW

Purified recycled water might present as a lot as 200 gigalitres of water a 12 months for a variety of makes use of, though the report acknowledges the general public could be cautious of it popping out of their faucets.

“While communities have indicated an openness to new supply options, engagement and consultation with customers and communities will be needed around the idea of using purified recycled water for drinking purposes,” it mentioned.


Sydney’s west, notably across the new airport, is likely to be the plain place to construct an indication plant, not least as a result of the world is predicted to have speedy inhabitants progress and has restricted further provide choices.

The deliberate Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre might deal with as a lot as 100 million litres of waste water a day from about half one million native residents.

“The project will include a diversified approach to water recycling that includes the potential for purified water to be used for environmental flows, supply to third pipe systems for urban greening, cooling and industry, and ultimately the potential to supply purified recycled water for drinking,” the report mentioned.

The two most important water purification processes are reverse osmosis, utilizing the identical membrane know-how because the desalination plant, and carbon trains utilizing ozone and filters.

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SANJHI AWAAZ is Punjabi radio station based in Melbourne (Australia) catering for all age groups of the Punjabi and Hindi speaking communities in the Melbourne VIC (AUS) and across the world online.




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