Australia's first groundwater replenishment trial starts

Jan 19, 2011

Australia's first Groundwater Replenishment Trial, which involves treating recycled water to drinking standards and recharging it underground, was officially launched by Water Minister Graham Jacobs.

The go-ahead to recharge recycled water was given by the Department of Health earlier in November 2010 following extensive commissioning of a purpose-built Advanced Water Recycling Plant, located north of Perth in Craigie. Dr Jacobs said the Water Corporation would run the trial to determine if recycled water could potentially help boost Perth's drinking water supplies. "Groundwater replenishment is one of several innovative options the corporation is looking at for future water sources," he said. "The plant will produce up to five million litres of recycled water each day which is then recharged to a confined aquifer 120-200 metres underground."

The Minister said he expected a worldwide increase in the use of recycled water in drinking supplies as more traditional water sources were increasingly suffering from less rainfall. "The trial is a great opportunity for us to safely explore the idea of using recycled water for drinking purposes," he said. "Although the technologies used in the advanced recycling process have been proven to work successfully elsewhere in the world, this trial will test them in local conditions."

Dr Jacobs said the trial would also help to confirm desktop research indicating groundwater replenishment may be cheaper and require less energy than seawater desalination. The corporation has built a visitor centre next to the new plant to be a major part of a forthcoming community education campaign on groundwater replenishment. "Community support will be essential to the success of the Groundwater Replenishment Trial," the Minister said. "The corporation is committed to keeping the community informed throughout the trial and the visitor centre has been built to help achieve this goal." He said the centre would give people an opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about groundwater replenishment and plans to combat the challenges of our drying climate. The Federal Government has contributed $19.4 million to the trial through the Water Smart Australia program. The corporation will contribute $31.5 million over the trials three-year life.

Water Corporation
629 Newcastle Street
Leederville WA 6007
Tel.: (08) 9420 2420
Fax: (08) 9423 7722

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