Water recycling drought proofs Sutherland Shire

Sutherland Shire Council has launched its Water-Reuse Scheme, becoming the only council inside Sydney Water’s operating area using tertiary treated effluent to irrigate both public and private property.

The council’s $4 million Cronulla-Woolooware Wastewater Reuse Scheme will be used to irrigate ovals and recreation areas in the Sutherland Shire’s eastern area.

Cost of construction received $881000 from the NSW Government’s Climate Change Fund, with payments contributed from private users and council over a twenty year fixed term enabling full cost recovery.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carol Provan said the scheme will prevent effluent from being discharged into the ocean and will stop large amounts of bore water and domestic (drinking) water being used for irrigation.

It will give the council better control over its water use and costs, Ms Provan said.

“The cost of recycled water is far less than the cost of drinking water that is currently being used for irrigation and will remain at that low cost while domestic water charges continue to rise,” Ms Provan said.

She said the scheme will drought proof the area’s playing fields and enable council and private landowner partners to irrigate even when water restrictions are in place.

Cronulla MP, Mark Speakman said the project will save millions of litres of drinking water each year by treating, recycling and reusing water that would otherwise be pumped out to sea.

According to Sutherland Shire Council, statutory standards will maintain the Water Reuse Scheme’s water quality, with results from ongoing monitoring reported to the public.

Tertiary treated effluent from Sydney Water’s Waster Water Treatment Plant at Cronulla is disinfected, the phosphorous is removed and the water is pumped through the 4.5 kilometre pipe network.

The water is then sent to council facilities, private recreation sites and gardens for irrigation.

Areas serviced will be the Cronulla Golf Course, Wollooware Golf Course, Woolooware High School, Captain Cook Playing Fields, Solander Playing Fields, Toyota Australia’s industrial site and developments and playing fields on the Kurnell peninsula.

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