In Australia, water is recycled to combat drought

Posted on 21 March 2018.

In Australia, residents of Sutherland Shire mitigate the effects of drought with a water recycling system managed by Veolia.

In total, the water recycling system has the capacity to recover 425 million liters of water per year.

Australia is a very arid country. It is estimated that two-thirds of it is desert. Since the 2000s, the phenomenon of drought has been further aggravated by temperature increases and a decrease in rainfall. Year after year, water is increasingly scarce, prompting authorities to take measures to preserve the resource: restrictions on consumption, rainwater collection, construction of desalination plants, and the circular economy!

This is notably the case of Sutherland Shire, south of the city of Sydney, which has a population of about 250,000. In 2013, the local authorities decided to implement a specific system to make better use of wastewater once treated. The objective was to put it back into circulation in local infrastructures rather than releasing it into the ocean, which was the case up until then.

Veolia was commissioned with operating and maintaining this circular system. In total, the water recycling system has the capacity to recover 425 million liters of water per year. Once treated, the wastewater is reused by the region's various infrastructures: golf courses, schools, playing fields, etc. The recycled water runs in a loop between the wastewater treatment plant and the various infrastructures. It helps avoid that these infrastructures suffer too much from drought conditions while reducing the pressure on the general demand for water in the region. The system works so well that nine new playgrounds, which will be supplied by recycled water, are under construction. A real feat in such a dry region!

Australia's weather conditions make it the ultimate testing ground for new water technologies and especially the circular economy. Hopefully, these new models can be quickly exported to other desert areas around the world.


Essilor loops the water loop