Perth groundwater replenishment project gets go-ahead

The Western Australia state government announced on 1 August 2013 that it was adopting groundwater replenishment with reused municipal and industrial wastewater to help secure Perth’s water supplies.

State water minister Terry Redman said that a landmark trial by Water Corporation over three years had to comply with 254 health guidelines and had been a resounding success.

“Groundwater replenishment will underpin Perth’s water security at a time of reduced rainfall. It adds another water supply option for the city, building diversity for the future and complementing other initiatives, such as desalination,” Redman said.

The minister said the groundwater recycling initiative would initially supply 7 million m³ of water every year. It was less expensive than a desalination plant – Perth already has two large seawater desalination plants – and used about half the energy.

Water Corporation says that the initial stage of Australia’s first full-scale groundwater replenishment scheme will begin recharging by 2016. The scheme can ultimately deliver around 28 million m³/year, and can be staged to meet population growth and water supply needs. It is currently due for completion in 2022.

Before construction of the large scheme, including a new Advanced Water Recycling Plant, can commence, there will be a formal environmental and health approvals process. During this time, Water Corporation will continue to operate the trial’s Advanced Water Recycling Plant and monitor the quality of recycled water to ensure it meets the required standards.