New water guidelines a threat to recycled water

Posted 19 September 2017

Changes to New South Wales’s wholesale water pricing model have sparked concern for the state’s recycled water industry. 

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has stated it will introduce a retail minus tariff from 1 January 2018. Some water recycling scheme managers are worried the adjustment will impact their ability to continue operations. 

Flow System's Terry Leckie told ABC Online said the change in water pricing will likely put an end to some of the schemes due to affordability. Flow Systems operates water recycling schemes at several large developments, including Sydney’s Central Park. 

"It means that we are unlikely to continue with Central Park. It's unlikely that we will be able to promote these kind of innovations in water,” Leckie said. 

City of Sydney Sustainability Director Chris Derksema said the IPART decision risks damaging the development of sustainable water initiatives in Sydney.

"We've got three major projects in Barangaroo, Central Park and Green Square where recycled water is vital to deliver a liveable city," he said. 

"This determination puts those projects at risk and not only those but future development in the city. This IPART decision could kill the recycled water industry here in Sydney."

University of Technology Sydney Institute for Sustainable Futures Director Stuart White said the decision is taking Australia’s approach to recycled water in the wrong direction.

“As we've seen in the electricity industry, where uncertainty was the death knell for investment, we run the risk of that happening here," White said.

“When the next drought comes … we won't be ready."

NSW Water Minister Don Harwin said he acknowledges the concerns raised and has launched a review of the IPART pricing changes. 

Further information in relation to the decisions that were made in the review can be found on IPART's website.
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