Water reuse an option in WA

Tuesday, 14 February, 2006

Water reuse in south-west Western Australia is being targeted by a CSIRO flagship called "˜The Water for a Healthy Country'.

Water reuse has the potential to be a major part of the total water cycle in the area. Combined with novel water treatment technologies, water reuse will "˜close the loop' of the water cycle, returning water for use by both the community and the environment. Western Australia, through the State Water Strategy, is committed to reclaiming 20 per cent of treated wastewater by 2012.

The south-west of Western Australia is the most heavily populated region of the state and is affected by the combined pressures of:

  • increasing population densities
  • climate variability
  • decreased rainfall
  • environmental impacts due to over extraction of water from the environment

While there are recognised alternatives for meeting water demand without taking more water from the environment, a number of issues need to be considered for water reuse to be successful.

CSIRO's research incorporates investigation of these issues which include:

  • social acceptability
  • capital and operating costs
  • feedstock quality
  • opportunities with waste energy
  • potential scale
  • human health risk
  • environmental impact
  • waste discharge and management

Projects being delivered to meet the program's goal include:

  • McGillivray Oval Direct Reuse Project
  • Premier's Water Foundation project
  • Halls Head and Floreat Infiltration Galleries
  • MAR Kwinana Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Social research into community attitudes towards water reuse

These projects consolidate:

  • experience in managed aquifer recharge
  • experience in water quality improvement
  • knowledge of biogeochemical processes
  • knowledge of the behaviour of microbial pathogens

CSIRO works with a wide range of collaborators to deliver solutions and options for water reuse. Partners include: The Water Corporation (Western Australia); Curtin University; University of Western Australia; Chemistry Centre Western Australia; Centre for Groundwater Studies; State Water Strategy; and the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF).

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