Fit for Purpose Recycled Water in Australia

Water recycling makes non-potable wastewater useful, reducing the economic and environmental costs of establishing new water supplies. Read how Australia’s Queensland Urban Utilities provides fit for purpose recycled water to its customers.

By Robert C. Brears

There are multiple benefits of utilizing recycled water for non-potable use including the reduction of the demand on drinking water supplies, postponement of the development of costly new sources of drinking water, enhancement of the landscape through irrigation, and saved potable water bills.

Fit for purpose recycled water

Queensland Urban Utilities supports the sustainable use of recycled water across its service territory with numerous environmental benefits including conservation of water resources, reduced nutrient loads being released into waterways, improved quality of public assets e.g. sporting field surfaces, and support of agriculture where environmental sources of water are insufficient. A key aspect of the utility’s recycled water program is that recycled water must be fit for purpose. Specifically, Queensland Urban Utilities provides various qualities, or classes, of recycled water treated to meet the customers’ requirements from each recycled water schemes, with the price decreasing with quality (see Table.):

· Class A+ recycled water, which is very highly treated recycled water and is usually only required for industrial process water or for the irrigation of minimally processed food crops

· Class A and B recycled water, which is recycled water that requires additional treatment processes above the normal sewage treatment processes that are sufficient to allow effluent to be discharged into the environment

· Class C recycled water, which is the lowest quality of recycled water supplied by the utility

The take-out

Fit for purpose recycled water saves costs by matching water quality with demand.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley) The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Palgrave Macmillan), Natural Resource Management and the Circular Economy (Palgrave Macmillan), Blue and Green Cities: The Role of Blue-Green Infrastructure in Managing Urban Water Resources (Palgrave Macmillan) and editor of Climate Resilient Water Resources Management (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Our Future Water, Mitidaption, and Mark and Focus.

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