Recycled water ‘OK to drink’

Aerial view of the construction of the groundwater replenishment scheme at Craigie.
Aerial view of the construction of the groundwater replenishment scheme at Craigie.

A SURVEY has revealed Perth residents are still willing to embrace new sources of drinking water.

Water Corporation customer and community general manager Catherine Ferrari said the recent Corporation-commissioned survey showed seven out of 10 people supported using recycled water for drinking, once the process was explained.

“Australia’s first full-scale groundwater replenishment scheme (at Craigie) is now over halfway through its construction and will be complete by the end of next year,” she said.

The process involved taking treated wastewater and further treating it to strict drinking water standards before recharging it into groundwater supplies.

The water remained there for many years before being extracted for further treatment as drinking water.

Ms Ferrari said recycled water would become the next new “climate independent water source” for Perth, and followed a three-year trial completed in 2012.

“We welcomed about 11,000 visitors at the site in Craigie and the process was fully explained because we appreciated how important it was to involve the community in this journey,” she said.

“Perth people understand that we live in a very dry climate and we can no longer rely on rainfall to fill up our dams.”

Ms Ferrari said the Corporation would continue to inform the community about water recycling and its long-term benefits to Perth’s drinking water supply.

DID YOU KNOW

– Water Corporation has surveyed community attitudes on recycling water since 2009.

– Craigie replenishment scheme construction expected to cost more than $120 million.

– Groundwater replenishment could supply up to 20 per cent of Perth’s drinking water by 2060.

– Craigie project modelled on California’s Orange County scheme that supplies about 50 per cent of the drinking water supply.