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How much water is recycled in Australia?

 

About 12% of Australia’s water is used for household and manufacturing purposes with a large percentage ending in the reticulated wastewater stream. In total, some 2 000 GL of this water is thought to be recoverable. However, only approximately 15% of the total output from sewage treatment plants was recycled. There are significant differences in reuse between states, with South Australia recycling greater than 20% of its wastewater. Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory recycling less than 10%. Many major cities have set target to achieve specific percentages of wastewater recycling (see table below)

Some of the highest rates of recycling water occur in regional Australia, but volumes are relatively small. In many arid areas of Australia the reliable supply of wastewater is very attractive to irrigators. Many inland towns have been supplying water to farmers for years, either formally through reticulated systems, or informally via downstream extractions. For example, nearly all small towns in WA and many throughout Australia recycle 100% of their wastewater. Western Water (A water authority in Victoria) recycles between 90 to 100% of the wastewater they manage.

 

Major capital city use of recycled water in Australia

Capital City

Recycling %

Recycling %

Recycling %

Stated objectives 2003

2001-2

2005-6

2007-8

Sydney

2.3

3.5

4.4

35% less consumption 2010, 10% recycling by 2020

Melbourne

2.0

14.3

23.2

15% reduced consumption,

Brisbane

6.0

4.8

6.3

20% recycling by 2010

Adelaide

11.1

18.1

30.6

17% recycling by 2010

Perth

3.3

5.3

6.4

33% recycling by 2025

Total (mainland state capitals)

3.3

8.4

11.3

20% recycling by 2012

Source: Radcliffe, J.C. 2009. Evolution of water recycling in Australian cities since 2003. In Reuse09. Brisbane, Queensland,

 

 Australia. www.reuse09.org.

 

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