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UTS partnership to lead to savings for on-campus water

The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) is set to cut potable water use by around 40,000 kilolitres each year thanks to an innovative new recycled water partnership with Flow Systems.

UTS will receive recycled water from Flow Systems’ wastewater recycling plant, which is located across the road from the university’s campus, at Sydney's Central Park development.

Flow Systems can produce 900 kilolitres of recycled water each day and the surplus is set to replace potable water use for irrigation, toilet flushing and cooling towers at UTS Central.

UTS Green Infrastructure Project Manager Jonathan Prendergast told FMMedia the project, which included the installation of pipes under Broadway in the Sydney CBD, will allow UTS to use recycled water with minimal disruption to the campus.

“This innovative partnership with the neighbouring plant enabled the UTS Central building to meet its Green Star requirements without having to install a very large water tank to capture rainwater that would have reduced the size of the Tech Labs,” he said.

“Not only did this save space and construction costs, recycled water from wastewater is more reliable than from rainwater, particularly in droughts.”

Recycled water will now flow to the UTS campus for non-potable uses, with the potential for the project to be expanded to other campuses.

Flow Systems CEO Terry Leckie said the project showcases how working together, particularly in urban environments, can achieve outstanding results in terms of recycled water use.

“We hope this partnership sets a precedent that will encourage the development of more water recycling projects in urban environments,” he said.

“Flow is committed to challenging the status quo to deliver sustainable, resilient and financially beneficial utilities solutions that give local communities greater control and this is a perfect example.”

Leckie said the university’s inner-city location posed a particular challenge for sustainable water use options, but the partnership offers an example of how recycled water can be applied more broadly.

“Due to the dense nature of its campus in Broadway, UTS has had to find new ways to achieve sustainability,” he said.

“While we have many customers of our recycled water services in our precincts around NSW, this is the first time we have been able to export the benefits of recycled water to a customer outside a development precinct.”

UTS Resources Deputy Vice Chancellor Patrick Woods said the project is also an example of how inner-city companies and organisations can engage in more sustainable use of water, particularly during times of drought.

“With many parts of New South Wales considered drought-affected, water recycling projects that reduce potable water use are increasingly important,” he said.

“In an urban context they have the potential to increase the resilience of neighbourhoods, providing continuous water supply even in dry conditions, while easing the pressure on the regional water network.”