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Water reuse
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Australasia & Pacific
Wednesday, 14 April 2021

VIDEO: Water Corporation’s expanded groundwater replenishment scheme

Australia utility Water Corporation has expanded its flagship Groundwater Replenishment Scheme to double its recharge capacity and secure drinking water for the Perth region.

Creating climate-independent water sources

Australia utility Water Corporation has expanded its flagship Groundwater Replenishment Scheme to double its recharge capacity and secure drinking water for Perth.

Driven by the impacts of climate change, the utility decided five years ago to expand the project to increase its “climate-independent” water source.

Similar to the Orange County Water District’s programme in California, the process involves treating wastewater to drinking water standards and then injecting it to top up groundwater supplies. Stored in underground, natural aquifers, the water can then be used when needed and doesn’t rely on rainfall.

“Perth and the south-west region of Western Australia are in the grip of a relentlessly drying climate that has brought dwindling rainfall and seriously depleted traditional water sources.”

To date, the existing groundwater replenishment makes up three per cent of the Water Corporation’s Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS).

Delivering nearly 300 billion litres of water per year to over two billion people, the IWSS includes four water sources: desalination, groundwater, dams and groundwater replenishment.

The Groundwater Replenishment Scheme expansion is expected to double the utility’s recharge capacity and includes construction of a second Advanced Water Recycling plant, drilling of four new recharge bores and four new monitoring bores and building a 13km recharge pipeline.

How does the process work?

Following a successful three-year trial, with support from Perth residents, business and government, Australia’s first full-scale Groundwater Replenishment Scheme was built at Beenyup in Craigie, in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia.

Using a three-stage treatment process of ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and then ultraviolet treatment (UV), the project generates around 28 billion litres of recycled water annually, enough to supply 100,000 households in the Perth region.

The video below from Water Corporation further explains more details:

Elsewhere in Australia, utility South East Water also plans to increase water reuse efforts at its Boneo Water Recycling plant.

Achieving water supply security by 2030

Water Corporation has previously said that Perth and the south-west region of Western Australia are "in the grip of a relentlessly drying climate that has brought dwindling rainfall and seriously depleted traditional water sources".

By 2030, even if the utility’s water use reduction and recycling targets are met, a further 70-100 billion litres of additional “climate independent water” will be required to support Perth’s water needs.

As well as expanding the Groundwater Replenishment Scheme and "investigating the further opportunity for reuse of treated wastewater", the utility plans to secure water supply by:

  • Increasing the capacity of existing desalination plants and investigate new desalination plants at Kwinana and Alkimos
  • Transferring groundwater abstraction to deeper aquifers to protect the groundwater environment and secure groundwater supplies
  • Using wastewater recycling as a resource for industry, public open spaces and agriculture
  • Continuing to make gains in water use efficiency.

 


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