Government departments Industry associations Multimedia Frequently Asked Questions What is recycled water? Is the person using recycled water safe? Is recycled water safe for use around the home? Is recycled water safe for use in agriculture? How safe is recycled water? What are the potential risks associated with recycled water? What are the common units when talking about recycled water? How do I know where recycled water is used? How do we manage any risk associated with using recycled water? How does the reclamation or treatment process work for recycling water? Can recycled water be used for agriculture and amenity horticulture? How much water is recycled in Australia? What are Australia’s water resources? What can recycled water be used for? How is recycled water defined? Why recycle our water? Why do we recycle water and allocate it to the environment? Glossary
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What can recycled water be used for?

Recycled water can be used for almost any use, as long as it is treated to a level to make it fit for that intended purpose (i.e. fit-for-purpose) from a health and environmental perspective . However, the cost of treatment may make reclamation uneconomical for some uses. Australia now has more than 600 different recycled water schemes operating. The bulk of these schemes involve:

  • Urban and municipal environments
  • Households, golf courses and recreational parks.
  • Industry
  • Washing and cooling in power stations and mills.
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture, forestry, pasture, flowers, viticulture and sugar cane.

Other possible uses include:

  • Fire fighting
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Municipal landscapes
  • ‘Dual pipe’ urban uses
  • Environmental flows and wetlands

It is now also possible for advanced treatment technology to produce safe drinking (potable) water. In several countries wastewater is recycled for potable reuse via groundwater injection (e.g. Water Factory 21 (Groundwater Replenishment system) in Orange County, California, USA) or where it is added directly to surface reservoirs (e.g. NEWater, Singapore). Such planned indirect or direct potable reuse is not currently practiced in Australia, although it is being considered by some councils with severe water shortages.