Predicted lower rainfalls in the South West of the state and an increasing population mean we can no longer rely solely on traditional water supplies to meet the demands for water.
Finding alternative water sources is a priority for government and all possible sources must be tried and tested to determine feasible options.
To ensure future state development, making the most efficient use of existing resources and increasing water reuse will be paramount.
In 2008, the state government, in partnership with stakeholders, developed the State Water Recycling Strategy to explore and determine how recycled water can be safely incorporated across the range of water use sectors. An overview has been published.
The strategy highlights the potential for recycling to provide water 'fit for purpose' for irrigated horticulture, green space irrigation and industry as well as the potential for managed aquifer recharge to increase water availability in groundwater systems and to maintain environmental values.
The strategy identifies large-scale, scheme-based non-drinking water supply options as a priority above reuse at household scale in view of environmental, economic and health considerations.
Recycled water includes wastewater and greywater. Other sources suitable for non-drinking purposes include groundwater, stormwater and rainwater.
These sources are part of the total water cycle.
The Waterwise Community Toolkit provides information to local governments, developers and householders on non-drinking water sources, household- and community-scale non-drinking water supply options, availability and considerations in selecting a suitable non-drinking water source. It links to water efficiency programs and other relevant websites from government, industry and water service providers.
Understanding the quality of water intended for recycling is important for regulators, proponents and the general community. The Ecotoxicity toolbox project offers an innovative alternative to the chemical by chemical approach, as well as another line of evidence to aid in more comprehensive assessment of risk.
Non-drinking water approval process
The approvals process for non-drinking water was considered to be a major barrier to water recycling. The regulation of non-drinking water schemes is the responsibility of a number of agencies: the Departments of Water, Environment and Conservation, and Health; the Economic Regulation Authority; the Water Corporation and local government.
To assist proponents with establishing non-drinking water schemes the Department of Water – as the lead agency responsible for coordinating across-agency approvals for non-drinking water – has prepared a streamlined approval framework for non-drinking water.
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