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New underground water recycling plant for Melbourne

Melbourne’s largest water corporation will deliver Class A recycled water to more than 5000 households in a move that will save water and reduce residents’ water bills.

Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has begun feasibility studies into the construction of an underground facility at Tram Road Reserve in Doncaster, about 20 km from the heart of Melbourne.

As well as its domestic uses in flushing toilets, watering the garden and the weekly (or monthly) carwash, the water is also earmarked for the drought-proofing of sportsgrounds and parks.

In addition to saving 2.5 ML of drinking water each week, YVW is confident the new supply will also save residents money.

The project will be similar in design to the MCG’s recycled water plant in Yarra Park, which was commissioned in 2012.

YVW Managing Director Pat McCafferty said an independent panel assessed a number of locations in the area and invited community input, with the initial choice of Eram Park ruled out because of concerns about floodwater management.

“Providing recycled water to this area is part of YVW’s plan to conserve precious drinking water supplies, particularly in infill areas where 70% of Melbourne’s growth is occurring,” McCafferty said.

YVW has been working with Melbourne Water and the North East Link Project (NELP) on the planning and design of the facility, and will also consult the City of Manningham on options for delivering the recycled water to local sportsgrounds and parks.

Fourteen years after then-federal water minister Malcolm Turnbull divided Toowoomba’s populace by tying federal funding to a proposed sewage-to-potable water project, many other parts of the world are recycling wastewater on a scale that dwarfs Australia’s efforts.

But recycled water usage is gaining momentum across the country.

McCafferty said YVW's plans for the direct delivery of Class A recycled water recognises the importance of alternative water supplies to the environment, as well as community needs.

“Climate change is affecting the reliability of our traditional water supplies and our suburbs are getting drier and hotter,” he said. 

“It makes sense to use alternative water to service this growth while helping keep our sports grounds and parks lush and green.

“This facility is a positive step towards building a portfolio of alternative sources of water that will contribute to a resilient and liveable Melbourne now and in the future.”

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