Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 Report prepared for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

Marsden Jacob Associates Financial & Economic Consultants ABN 66 663 324 657 ACN 072 233 204 Internet: http://www.marsdenjacob.com.au E-mail: economists@marsdenjacob.com.au Melbourne office: Postal address: Level 3, 683 Burke Road, Camberwell Victoria 3124 AUSTRALIA Telephone: +61 3 9882 1600 Facsimile: +61 3 9882 1300 Brisbane office: Level 14, 127 Creek Street, Brisbane Queensland, 4000 AUSTRALIA Telephone: +61 7 3229 7701 Facsimile: +61 7 3229 7944 Canberra office: Unit 10, 11 Mackay Gardens, Turner ACT 2612, AUSTRALIA Telephone: +61 2 6247 6549 Perth office: Level 1, 220 St Georges Terrace, Perth Western Australia, 6000 AUSTRALIA Telephone: +61 8 9324 1785 Facsimile: +61 8 9322 7936 Sydney office: Hunters Hill, New South Wales, 2110 AUSTRALIA, Telephone: 0418 765 393 Authors: Kym Whiteoak, Phil Jones, Phil Pickering +61 3 9882 1600 kwhiteoak@marsdenjacob.com.au This report has been prepared in accordance with the scope of services described in the contract or agreement between Marsden Jacob Associates Pty Ltd ACN 072 233 204 (MJA) and the Client.

Any findings, conclusions or recommendations only apply to the aforementioned circumstances and no greater reliance should be assumed or drawn by the Client. Furthermore, the report has been prepared solely for use by the Client and Marsden Jacob Associates accepts no responsibility for its use by other parties.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government or the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.

Commonwealth of Australia 2012 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Public Affairs, GPO Box 787 Canberra ACT 2601 or email public.affairs@environment.gov.au ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Executive Summary ___ 1
1 Introduction ___ 10
1.1 Project scope ___ 11
1.2 Report structure ___ 12
2 Water Recycling in Australia ___ 13
2.1 Recycled water in Australian water supply planning ___ 13
2.2 The national picture – current and expected water recycling in Australia to 2015 ___ 15
2.3 National recycled water themes ___ 19
2.4 Stormwater recycling ___ 21
3 New South Wales ___ 23
3.1 Discussion ___ 23
3.2 NSW water recycling 2009/10 ___ 24
3.3 NSW progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 26
3.4 Stormwater reuse in NSW ___ 29
4 Victoria ___ 30
4.1 Discussion ___ 30
4.2 Victorian water recycling 2009/10 ___ 30
4.3 Victorian progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 35
4.4 Stormwater reuse in Victoria ___ 38
5 Queensland ___ 39
5.1 Discussion ___ 39
5.2 QLD water recycling 2009/10 ___ 40
5.3 QLD progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 43
5.4 Stormwater reuse in Queensland ___ 46
6 South Australia ___ 47
6.1 Discussion ___ 47
6.2 SA water recycling 2009/10 ___ 48
6.3 SA progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 51
6.4 Stormwater reuse in SA ___ 51
7 Western Australia ___ 54
7.1 Discussion ___ 54
7.2 WA water recycling 2009/10 ___ 55
7.3 WA progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 56
7.4 Stormwater reuse in WA ___ 58
8 Tasmania ___ 59
8.1 Discussion ___ 59
8.2 Tasmanian water recycling 2009/10 ___ 60
8.3 Tasmanian progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 61
8.4 Stormwater reuse in Tasmania .

Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia's wastewater being recycled by 2015

9 Northern Territory ___ 62
9.1 Discussion ___ 62
9.2 NT water recycling 2009/10 ___ 62
9.3 NT progress against the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 63
9.4 Stormwater reuse in the Northern Territory ___ 64
10 Australian Capital Territory ___ 65
10.1 Discussion ___ 65
10.2 ACT water recycling 2009/10 ___ 66
10.3 ACT progress towards the Commonwealth target to 2015 ___ 67
10.4 ACT Stormwater reuse ___ 68
11 Opportunities to enhance recycled water use in Australia ___ 70
11.1 Excess recycled water capacity ___ 70
11.2 Demand for recycled water – Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR ___ 72
11.3 Identification of recycled water projects ___ 73
LIST OF TABLES Page Table 1: Desalination plants by location and volume ___ 14
Table 2: Wastewater and stormwater recycling targets by location ___ 15
Table 3: 2015 projections from current report, compared to 2008 report ___ 19
Table 4: Melbourne recycled water volumes supplied as a percentage of total sewage flows .

LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by capital cities and rest of Australia (ML/year ___ 1
Figure 2: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by jurisdiction (ML/year ___ 2
Figure 3: Expected Australian wastewater recycling by jurisdiction, 2015 (ML/year ___ 3
Figure 4: 2009/10 recycled wastewater volumes and augmentations to 2015 by capital city and rest of jurisdiction (ML/year ___ 4
Figure 5: Current and expected wastewater recycling by 2015, by use (ML/year ___ 5
Figure 6: Projected supplies of recycled water compared to capacity, 2015 (ML/year ___ 7
Figure 7: Expected stormwater recycling capacity by 2015, by jurisdiction (ML/year ___ 8
Figure 8: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by capital cities and rest of Australia (ML/year ___ 16
Figure 9: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by jurisdiction (ML/year ___ 16
Figure 10: Expected Australian wastewater recycling by jurisdiction, 2015 (ML/year ___ 17
Figure 11: 2009/10 recycled wastewater volumes and augmentations to 2015 by capital city and rest of jurisdiction (ML/year ___ 18
Figure 12: Current and expected wastewater recycling by 2015, by use (ML/year ___ 20
Figure 13: Current and expected wastewater recycling by 2015, by use (ML/year ___ 22
Figure 14: NSW wastewater recycling volumes and proportions, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 24
Figure 15: Sydney wastewater recycling by use, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 25
Figure 16: NSW non-metropolitan wastewater recycling by use, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 26
Figure 17: Wastewater Recycling – Sydney Metropolitan Region ___ 27
Figure 18: Sydney wastewater recycling growth to 2015 (ML/ year ___ 28
Figure 19: Expected NSW recycling and implicit Commonwealth target (ML/year ___ 29
Figure 20: Victorian wastewater recycling volumes and proportions, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 31
Figure 21: Melbourne wastewater recycling by use, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 32
Figure 22: Planned and actual recycled water, Western Water, 2004/05 to 2014/15 ___ 34
Figure 23: Wastewater recycled 2009-10 – Regional Victorian Water Authorities (ML/year ___ 35
Figure 24: Melbourne wastewater recycling to 2015 (ML/year ___ 36
Figure 25: Wastewater recycled to 2015 – non-Melbourne Victorian water authorities (ML/year ___ 37
Figure 26: Expected Victorian recycling and implicit Commonwealth target (ML/year ___ 38
Figure 27: Queensland wastewater recycling volumes and proportions, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 40
Figure 28: SEQ wastewater recycling by use, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 42
Figure 29: Regional QLD wastewater recycling by use, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 43
Figure 30: SEQ wastewater recycling to 2015 (ML/year ___ 44
Figure 31: Wastewater recycled to 2015 – rest of Queensland (ML/year ___ 45
Figure 32: Expected Queensland recycling and implicit Commonwealth target (ML/year ___ 45
Figure 33: South Australian wastewater recycling volumes and proportions, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 48
Figure 34: Metropolitan Adelaide recycled wastewater percentage, 1996/97 – 2009/10 ___ 49
Figure 35: Adelaide Wastewater recycling 2009/10, by type (ML/year ___ 49
Figure 36: Non-metropolitan wastewater recycling, South Australia, 1996/07 – 2009/10 ___ 50
Figure 37: Recycled water progress to 2015, South Australia (ML/year ___ 51
Figure 38 – Perth drinking water supply demand gap to 2060 (GL/year ___ 55
Figure 39: Western Australian wastewater recycling volumes and proportions, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 56
Figure 40: recycled water progress to 2015, Western Australia (ML/year ___ 58
Figure 41: Tasmanian wastewater recycling volume and proportion, 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 60
Figure 42: Expected Tasmanian wastewater recycling and implicit national target, 2015 (ML/year ___ 61
Figure 43: Northern Territory wastewater recycling volume and proportion 2009/10 (ML/year ___ 63
Figure 44: Expected Northern Territory wastewater recycling and implicit national target, 2015 (ML/year ___ 64
Figure 45: Total ACT storage levels since 2006 ___ 66
Figure 46: ACT wastewater recycling 2009/10 with/without return flows (ML/year ___ 67
Figure 47: Expected ACT wastewater recycling and implicit national target, 2015 (ML/year ___ 68
Figure 48: National recycled water with project capacity, 2015 (ML/year .

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 1 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Executive Summary 1. The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) commissioned Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) to undertake an assessment of progress towards a national target of wastewater recycling of 30 per cent by 2015. Across Australia, 16.8 per cent of wastewater flows were recycled in 2009/10. On current estimates, national wastewater recycling by 2015 is expected to range from 18.7 per cent to 20.3 percent.1 2.

While the majority of wastewater recycling in 2009/10 stems from urban reuse (Figure 1), a greater proportion of wastewater flows are recycled outside of capital cities (21.7 per cent as opposed to 15.2 per cent in capital cities). Figure 1: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by capital cities and rest of Australia (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

3. Figure 2 summarises wastewater recycling by jurisdiction. Volumetrically, the largest volumes recycled are in the states with the largest populations − Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. However, South Australia reuses the highest proportion of wastewater at 28 per cent, followed by Victoria (24 per cent) and Queensland (24 per cent). Tasmania and the Northern Territory recycled the least by both volume and proportion, facing the lowest demand and abundant potable supplies in most of their major centres.

1 This range is based on the potential inclusion of Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment recycled water project, which is planned to produce 25-35 GL per year by 2015 if it goes ahead (we have used the average of 30GL per year).

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 2: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by jurisdiction (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources. 4. Figure 3 shows expected wastewater recycling to 2015. Nationally, recycled wastewater is expected to reach 18.7 per cent of wastewater flows in 2015, or 20.3 per cent if Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment2 2 Shown as ‘IPR’ (indirect potable reuse) in the Figure. IPR projects augment drinking water supplies indirectly; for example through high level treatment before storage and filtration in natural aquifers, or by storage in rivers and dams prior to retreatment and delivery through potable supply systems.

Perth’s project involves groundwater aquifer storage.

project proceeds. Augmentations are expected mostly in NSW, which is dominated by an 18GL per year environmental flow / potable substitution project in Sydney, and smaller augmentations in Victoria. These are mostly increased supply from existing projects, and various small new initiatives.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 3 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 3: Expected Australian wastewater recycling by jurisdiction, 2015 (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

Note: * The National average increase reflects inclusion of indirect potable reuse (IPR). In addition, if Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment IPR project is implemented, WA’s recycling proportion would increase to 30 per cent. In addition, the national average would be boosted with the addition of SA’s stormwater recycling projects totalling 10GLper year, taking their recycling proportion to 30 per cent.

5. There are expected declines in water recycling proportions in Queensland, predominantly from a reduction in output from SEQ’s Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (WCRWP) compared with 2009/10. In addition, recycled water use in South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT is expected to flatten, reducing the output in percentage terms as wastewater volumes grow with population. 6. Western Australia’s recycling to 2015 is dependent upon the potential for Australia’s first operating wastewater recycling project used for indirect potable reuse (IPR). If approved, the Groundwater Replenishment project will supply between 25 and 35GL per year to Perth’s potable supplies, using recharge to aquifers.

This would increase recycled water use in WA from 12 per cent to 30 per cent, and the national proportion to 20.3 per cent, as well as potentially revolutionising recycled water use in Australia. 7. The contribution of stormwater reuse to total water recycling in 2015 is shown in orange bars in Figure 3. The main contributions are in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. These volumes do not contribute to percentages shown in the Figure, which represent recycled wastewater use only.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 4 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 4: 2009/10 recycled wastewater volumes and augmentations to 2015 by capital city and rest of jurisdiction (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources. 8. Figure 4 shows current recycled water volumes by capital city and the remainder of the State or Territory, in addition to expected augmentations to 2015. This chart highlights the volumetric contribution of Sydney to overall augmentations (from a comparatively low proportional base), and the potential of Perth’s IPR project to contribute to the total.

Further, recycling in the ACT challenges the very definition of recycled wastewater, returning the vast majority of potable supplies (97 per cent) to the Murrumbidgee for downstream use, beyond more conventional recycling activities. NATIONAL RECYCLED WATER TRENDS 9. There are a number of common recycled water trends emerging nationally. These include a shift in recycled water use towards uses that substitute for potable consumption, a movement towards indirect potable consumption (IPR) of recycled water, an excess of recycled water capacity in several centres, and the more recent growth in stormwater reuse.

A shift towards potable substitution 10. The early recycled water projects that produced significant volumes of water were predominantly agricultural initiatives which used recycled water with low levels of treatment. 11. Figure 5 shows current wastewater recycling projects by use (in blue), and expected augmentations to 2015. While agricultural projects dominate the historical picture, future augmentations are dominated by municipal, industrial and commercial, as well as

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 5 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB environmental projects.

These include Sydney’s environmental flows project. Should it proceed, Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project will also add a further 25-35GL per year of indirect potable reuse (IPR) to this picture. Figure 5: Current and expected wastewater recycling by 2015, by use (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

12. Importantly, from an urban water supply perspective, up to half of wastewater recycling will substitute for potable supplies by 2015 (with the inclusion of Perth’s IPR project), and thus contribute to urban water supply security. Additionally, the Western Corridor project is being used as a potential 85GL per year drought response option, which is the first dedicated use of a recycled water project for urban water security in Australia. 13. As such, recent and future recycled water projects are contributing to urban water supply security as never before.

Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) developments 14.

The use of recycled wastewater to augment potable supplies remains largely unsupported in Australia. In 2008 the Western Corridor project in SEQ was scheduled to be the first Australian IPR project in use, supplying 85GL per year into SEQ storages once combined storages fell below 40%. While this did not occur and rainfall has returned to SEQ, it remains an integral part of the State’s water supply strategy. 15. Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project involves treatment of wastewater to drinking water standards followed by injection into an aquifer and subsequent recovery. If proven to be cost effective and with demonstrated community support, it will form an ongoing part of future potable supplies for Perth’s water supply system.

By 2015, subject to approval, the project would produce between 25 and 35GL per year, with long-term volumes up to 70GL per year.

16. If successful, the project will revolutionise recycled water use and potable water supply planning in Australia, and could lead to far greater use of IPR in future.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 6 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 17. An IPR project involving stormwater reuse is in operation in Orange, NSW. The first IPR project of any kind in Australia, it harvests between 1.3 and 2.1GL per year of stormwater from high flow events in Blackmans Swamp Creek, which is added to surface water storages.

Further augmentations are planned to this project. Excess recycled water capacity 18. There is evidence in a number of jurisdictions of a significant surplus in supply over demand, or insufficient latent demand to justify further growth, especially where large-scale projects have been developed. Examples include: − SEQ’s Western Corridor Recycled Water Project has the capacity to produce 85GL per year of potable quality recycled water from a number of sites across Brisbane and Ipswich, with a delivery network already in place. While the project is currently being used as a drought management tool with potential IPR, estimated volumes recycled to 2015 are in the order of 14-22GL per year.

Thus, there is a latent supply of around 65-70GL per year which could be used for industrial, commercial and municipal use, of which up to 32GL per year has been offered to agricultural users in the Lockyer Valley, should a demand arise, that can be met at the marginal cost of delivery;3 − Melbourne’s Eastern Treatment Plant upgrade will result in 100GL per year of Class A treated wastewater available for use from July 2012. At this stage, no significant users have been identified, with current exploration of potential agricultural demand in the Bunyip Food Belt on Melbourne’s south eastern fringe.

As with other agricultural schemes, capacity to pay is a key issue and long-term demand of more than 15GL per year would appear unlikely; − a number of smaller centres such as Coffs Harbour (NSW) and Mackay (QLD) have made significant investments in recycled water capacity, with supply now higher than current demand.4 19. It is important to note that if key projects operated at maximum capacity, the national target would be much closer to realisation by 2015. Figure 6 provides an illustration of national recycled water capacity at 2015, were the Eastern Treatment Plant (100GL per year), Western Corridor (85GL per year) and Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment IPR project (35GL per year) to operate at full capacity.

20. With all projects operating at capacity, and stormwater volumes (20GL per year) included, total recycled water use would exceed 30 per cent, and fall just below the target if Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment scheme does not proceed. 3 http://www.qwc.qld.gov.au/planning/pdf/seqws-full.pdf p.3. 4 These regional projects are driven by a range of factors, including the environmental health of receiving waters. However, where supply significantly exceeds demand, it would suggest that further augmentations would be ineffective in recycled water use in the short term.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 7 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 6: Projected supplies of recycled water compared to capacity, 2015 (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis.

Notes: Blue bar is expected recycled water use to 2015, white bar is excess capacity of key projects: Eastern Treatment Plant, Western Corridor Recycled Water Project, Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project. Diamond demonstrates the national 30 per cent target. Orange bar is national stormwater capacity at 2015, for illustrative purposes.

21. Data collated for this report indicates that the projects shown in Figure 6 are likely to operate at a fraction of full capacity by 2015. It is unlikely that new projects would be undertaken in major urban centres while this significant excess of supply over demand remains. Stormwater recycling 22. Stormwater harvesting is a relative newcomer to recycled water in Australia, with a significant number of projects appearing over the past decade. Compared with wastewater recycling, stormwater recycling can suffer from a number of barriers and challenges: − unlike the steady availability of wastewater, stormwater is rainfall dependent and highly variable over time; − as most stormwater recycling projects are undertaken in urban settings, a shortage of available land for low cost treatment through wetlands and storage facilities inhibits projects being developed.

Adelaide’s use of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) has avoided the use of surface water storages, improving cost effectiveness; and − regulatory regimes for accessing stormwater and for stormwater reuse have tended to lag behind those for wastewater recycling.

23. However, in contrast to wastewater recycling, stormwater reuse projects almost invariably contribute to potable substitution, supplementing for urban irrigation and industrial use, and contributing to water supply security. They also avoid the ‘yuck factor’ that plagues public perception of consumption of recycled wastewater.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 8 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 24. Estimation of stormwater recycling volumes is inherently imprecise.

Not only does demand vary with climatic conditions (like most wastewater recycling use), but supply also depends upon rainfall. Very few projects have been in operation long enough to develop a reliable predictive method, and most projects report on capacity (i.e., how much the project can deliver in a given year).

25. As such, in lieu of estimated likely yield of projects in 2015, we use project yield at capacity as reported by project proponents in this report, based on projects in operation and those expected to be operating by 2015. This may overestimate actual volumes, given that supply and demand may vary annually. 26. Additionally, while yields may not reach the stated capacity in 2015, there are many small projects driven by local councils that are unreported at state and national levels. Only South Australia and NSW have made any concerted effort to compile a list of projects in their jurisdictions.

National stormwater recycling 27. Based on projects funded by the Commonwealth, and other projects reported by jurisdictions, capacity for 20.8GL per year of stormwater recycling will exist by 2015 (Figure 7). Over half of this will be found in South Australia (10GL per year), with significant contributions from New South Wales (5.4GL per year), Victoria (3.2GL per year) and the ACT (1.5GL per year). A small number of mostly Commonwealth funded projects are being implemented in other jurisdictions. Figure 7: Expected stormwater recycling capacity by 2015, by jurisdiction (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 9 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 28. In terms of contribution to water supply security, South Australia and the ACT are the two jurisdictions that currently plan for stormwater to play a significant role in the long term: − the South Australian Government plans to increase stormwater reuse to 70GL per year by 2050; and − the ACT Government has medium term plans to reuse 3GL per year of stormwater – equivalent to the entire public open space irrigation volume.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 10 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 1 Introduction Ten years of below average rainfall across most of Australia until 2010, combined with rapid population growth in major urban centres, highlighted the need for planners to prepare a diversified water supply portfolio, including rainfall-independent water supply options such as recycled wastewater and desalination.

Reliance solely on dams, which are heavily dependent on ‘average’ rainfall and potentially inadequate for faster growing centres, is being replaced with augmentations from diverse sources, many of which provide reliability during times of drought, and other natural crises.5 Government commitments at all levels towards water supply source diversification, as well as the persistence of economic and regulatory barriers seen as inhibiting the unassisted growth of water recycling activities, have seen most jurisdictions commit to wastewater recycling targets over various time horizons.

In 2007, the Australian Government itself committed to a national target of recycling 30 per cent of wastewater by 2015, and provided support to achieve that target.

MJA undertook a progress report in June 2008 which took a ‘snapshot’ of water recycling rates across Australian jurisdictions, estimating that by 2015 around 23.8 per cent of wastewater effluent would be recycled (24.6 per cent including stormwater recycling) based on available data and planned investments. However, much has changed at the policy and climatic levels since 2008.  The ten year record drought, which exposed the dam-dependency of most urban water planning strategies, broke from 2010, replenishing water supply sources across eastern Australia. Higher rainfall through 2010 and 2011 has reduced the demand for water from alternative sources and increased wastewater flows due to infiltration into the sewerage system.

As a result, progress towards the 30 per cent national target by 2015 has effectively slowed.

Further, significant replenishment of major urban centre dam supplies may defer immediate decisions on augmentation options, such as South East Queensland’s (SEQ) Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (WCRWP), which was scheduled to commence indirect potable reuse at the end of 2008. As significant inflows to SEQ’s water supply at Wivenhoe Dam returned, the need to supplement water storages with recycled water has been deferred. 5 For example, the Gold Coast desalination plant provided welcome water supply reliability during South East Queensland’s recent flood crisis.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 11 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB  Significant investment in stormwater reuse, partly through Commonwealth funding, has occurred across jurisdictions at varying scales.

Although often undertaken at small scales, these investments are likely to continue towards 2015 with the announcement in 2010 by the Australian Government for an additional grant round of $100 million. This third round of grants was launched in June 2011 with projects expected to commence in 2012. Large-scale investments in South Australia continue, with the Waterproofing the West initiative commencing in 2011.

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) for indirect potable consumption and other uses continue to be developed, especially in Western Australia (as well as for stormwater in South Australia).  Frameworks have been developed and implemented in New South Wales for third party access of wastewater for recycled water projects, with the Rosehill-Camellia project due online in 2011.  An increasing number of funding bodies have both begun and expanded operations across Australia. These operations have funded both on-the-ground projects and research and examined a broadening scope of options for recycling.

This has in turn provided impetus for new development and further research.

The policy landscape between environmental protection and water supply continues to change, with Environmental Protection Agencies increasingly supportive of wastewater recycling projects in contrast to riverine disposal options.6  Meanwhile, the early starters in recycled water projects are now maturing (such as Rouse Hill, Pimpama-Coomera and various industrial projects), providing rich data sets and insights for next-generation projects. It is in the context of these continuing changes that the current project is prepared. 1.1 Project scope The current report/study is, in part, an update of the report completed by MJA in 2008,7 Major water authorities which explored then recycling rates and planned recycled water activities to 2015 across Australian jurisdictions and as a whole.

The scope of this report was extended to convey a comprehensive picture of current wastewater and stormwater recycling activities, and those to 2015, across jurisdictions. Additionally, key policy issues and changes affecting each jurisdiction are discussed.

8 6 Although interestingly, some water authorities have received credit from State Governments for high-level treatment of recycled water and riverine disposal, for subsequent downstream water supply. from all Australian jurisdictions report against key water supply and wastewater functions to the National Water Commission National Performance Report, (NWC NPR) the most recent of which is 2009/10, Urban Water Utilities. This data has provided the backbone of the statistical analysis for this report, and has been augmented with: 7 http://www.environment.gov.au/water/publications/urban/pubs/national-recycl ing-snapshot.pdf 8 Those supplying more than 50,000 connected properties.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 12 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB  other 2009/10 water authority data where data gaps have been identified;9  publicly available information on specific projects currently delivering recycled water; and Forecasting analysis to 2015 has built on this data with the following sources:  data supplied by water authorities of their own forecast wastewater recycling activities to 2015; and  published information on project development to 2015.

All analysis has been verified through discussions with policy officers in jurisdictional departments, and semi-structured interviews with key agents in relevant water authorities. The main gap in data is from small towns where current and forecast project information is not publicly available. A full collection of data of this kind is beyond the scope of this consultancy. Unlike the current report, MJA’s 2008 report projected recycling activities according to jurisdictional targets to 2015 and beyond, if actual project data was lacking. For the 2008 report, the use of targets provided a reasonable basis for forecasting the volume of recycled water to be supplied 2015 in the absence of specific project data.

However, from the vantage point of 2011, a 2015 target must be associated with specific projects in development for it to be likely to be met. As such, jurisdictional targets are not used to forecast expected recycled water volumes by 2015 in this report.10 1.2 Report structure The remainder of this report is structured as followed:  Section 2 provides some water policy context for Australian water recycling, before detailing results at the national level;  Sections 3-10 provide the same context and data analysis for each Australian jurisdiction; and  Section 11 provides policy insights and suggestions for further work.

9 For example, reporting to the NPR is voluntary in Queensland, however many authorities report to the Queensland Water Directorate, which has supplied data to the project with permission. 10 The exception is Sydney, which has specific projects associated with a target for 70GL of recycled water produced by 2015.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 13 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 2 Water Recycling in Australia 2.1 Recycled water in Australian water supply planning Ten years of below average rainfall across most of Australia from 2000 to 2010 resulted in an urgent need to secure drinking water supplies across jurisdictions, encouraging significant investment in recycled water at all levels of government. These conditions changed dramatically from 2010, when rainfall returned across eastern Australia and water storages increased sharply.

Flooding in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria associated with a ‘La Niña’ weather pattern described as “the strongest in Australia in almost 40 years”11 Desalination has also changed the urban water picture in Australia in recent years. Three desalination plants are already in operation around Australia, and three more expect to be in operation by 2012, implying that a capital-intensive, climate independent potable water supply source will be available in the five largest capital cities in Australia by 2012 ( reduced the immediacy of water supply planning problems for most capital cities.

The exceptions are Adelaide, for which dam storages provide a relatively small water supply buffer, and Perth, which did not benefit significantly from La Niña-induced rainfall.

Table 1). These investments have placed pressure on residential water bills and focussed attention on the costeffectiveness of new water supply augmentations. 11 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/la-nina-blowing-away-wests-last-ho pes/story-e6frg8zx- 1226057072938

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 14 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Table 1: Desalination plants by location and volume Location Expected commencement date Annual volume (at capacity) Proportion of water supply South East Queensland 2009 45GL per year 7% (of around 620GL per year for SEQ) Sydney 2010 90GL per year 15% (of around 600GL per year) Melbourne End 2011 150GL per year 25% (of around 600GL per year) Perth (Kwinana) 2006 45GL per year 17% (of around 250GL per year) Perth (Binningup) End 2011 50GL per year 20% (of around 250GL per year) Adelaide 2012 100GL per year 50% (of around 200GL per year) Sources: see below.

12 Targets Most Australian jurisdictions have had aspirational targets for the proportion of wastewater recycled, either in capital cities or for the entire jurisdiction. The jurisdictional targets identified are summarised in Table 2. Sydney’s goal of 70GL per year equates to less than 15 per cent of expected wastewater flows by 2015, and appears to be on target. Melbourne’s 70GL per year target equates to just over 20 per cent of expected wastewater flows (due to lower wastewater volumes) and has been achieved. SA’s 2010 strategic document Water For Good set further ambitious wastewater and stormwater targets out to 2050.

12 http://www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/projects/water/gold-coast-desalination-project.h tml , http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/sydneys-desal-plant-switched -on-20100128-n13h.html http://www.partnerships.vic.gov.au/CA25708500035EB6/WebObj/ProjectSummaryfo rVictorianDesalinationPr oject/$File/Project%20Summary%20for%20Victorian%20Desalination%20Project.pd f http://www.watercorporation.com.au/D/desalination.cfm http://www.rpsgroup.com.au/project/binningupdesalination-plant http://www.sawater.com.au/NR/rdonlyres/0447A380-639E-4DA4-A041-7EF67237668D /0per yearDPearly2011.pdf

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 15 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Table 2: Wastewater and stormwater recycling targets by location Location Target Comment Australia 30 per cent recycled per year by 2015 Wastewater target Sydney 70GL per year by 2015 Melbourne 20 per cent recycled per year by 2010 Officially achieved , no new target provided Perth 30 per cent recycled by 2030 60 per cent recycled by 2060 South Australia 35 per cent recycled by 2015 (urban) 29 per cent recycled by 2015 (country) 60GL per year stormwater recycling by 2050 (Adelaide) 75GL per year stormwater recycling by 2050 (State) 75GL per year wastewater recycling by 2050 (urban) GL targets from Water For Good, 2010 Sources: see below.

13 Concurrently, a number of jurisdictions retain a formal ban on the use of recycled wastewater for indirect potable reuse. Additionally, a lack of policy frameworks can further prevent indirect potable consumption of stormwater in some jurisdictions, although not all.14 2.2 The national picture – current and expected water recycling in Australia to 2015 Water authorities from all Australian jurisdictions report against key water supply and wastewater functions to the National Water Commission’s National Performance Report, (NWC NPR) the most recent of which is 2009/10, Urban Water Utilities.

Most data in this section is based on this reporting arrangement, augmented with further research and discussions with key jurisdictional representatives on data gaps and future recycled water activities. Across Australia, 16.8 per cent of wastewater flows were recycled in 2009/10. While the majority of wastewater recycling stems from metropolitan reuse (Figure 8), a greater proportion of wastewater flows are recycled outside of capital cities (21.7 per cent as opposed to 15.2 per cent in capital cities).

13 Sydney: 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan. Melbourne: New Water For Victoria, 2002. Perth: Water Forever, towards climate resilience, 2009. South Australia: Water For Good, 2010, Waterproofing Adelaide 2005. 14 In Victoria, Yarra Valley Water’s Kalkallo Stormwater Project proposed indirect potable consumption of stormwater from roofs and paved surfaces, however was refused permission by the Health Department, citing a lack of frameworks (http://www.theage.com.au/environment/water-issues/officials-block-radicalstormwaterrecycling-plan-20110307-1bl7i.html). In contrast, a stormwater harvesting project in Orange, NSW, supplies potable storages with recycled stormwater.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 16 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 8: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by capital cities and rest of Australia (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources. Figure 9 summarises wastewater recycling by jurisdiction. Volumetrically, the largest volumes recycled are in the states with the largest populations - Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. However by proportion of wastewater flows, South Australia reuses the most wastewater at 28 per cent, followed by Victoria (24 per cent) and Queensland (24 per cent).

Tasmania and the Northern Territory recycled the least by both volume and proportion, facing the lowest demand and abundant potable supplies in their major centres. Figure 9: Australian wastewater recycling 2009/10, by jurisdiction (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

Figure 10 shows expected wastewater recycling to 2015, based on expected changes in each jurisdiction. Recycled wastewater is expected to reach 18.7 per cent of wastewater flows in 2015, or 20.3 per cent if Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project proceeds. Augmentations

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 17 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB are expected mostly in NSW, which is dominated by an 18GL per year environmental flows/potable substitution project in Sydney, and smaller augmentations in Victoria.

These mostly increase supply from existing projects, but also include various small new initiatives. Figure 10: Expected Australian wastewater recycling by jurisdiction, 2015 (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources.

Notes: * The National average increase reflects inclusion of IPR (Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project). If the project is implemented, WA’s recycling proportion increases to 30 per cent. In addition, the National average would be boosted with the addition of SA’s stormwater recycling projects totalling 10GL per year. There are expected declines in water recycling proportions in Queensland, which is expecting a reduction in output from SEQ’s Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (WCRWP) compared with 2009/10, and a flattening of output in South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

This will reduce output in percentage terms as wastewater volumes grow with population.

Western Australia’s recycling to 2015 is dependent upon the potential for Australia’s first operating wastewater recycling project used for indirect potable reuse (IPR). If fully realised, the Groundwater Replenishment project, has the potential to supply between 25 and 35GL per year to Perth’s potable supplies, using aquifer storage and recover (ASR). This will increase their recycled water use in WA from 12 per cent to 30 per cent, and the national proportion to 20 per cent, as well as potentially revolutionising recycled water use in Australia. The contribution of stormwater reuse to total water recycling in 2015 is shown in orange bars in Figure 10.

The main contributions occur in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. These volumes do not contribute to stated percentages.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 18 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Figure 11: 2009/10 recycled wastewater volumes and augmentations to 2015 by capital city and rest of jurisdiction (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources. Figure 11 shows current recycled water volumes by capital city and the remainder of each jurisdiction, in addition to expected augmentations to 2015. This chart highlights the volumetric contribution of Sydney to overall augmentations (from a comparatively low proportional base), and the potential of Perth’s IPR project to contribute to the total.

Further, recycling in the ACT challenges the very definition of recycled wastewater, returning the vast majority of potable supplies (97 per cent) to the Murrumbidgee for downstream use, beyond more conventional recycling activities.

Significant changes since the 2008 assessment As noted, recycled wastewater is expected to total 18.7 per cent of wastewater flows in 2015, and total recycled wastewater forms 20.3 per cent should Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project proceed. This compares with a 2008 estimate that 23.8 per cent would be recycled.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 19 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB Table 3: 2015 projections from current report, compared to 2008 report Location 2015 estimate from 2008 report % 2015 estimate from current report % NSW 16.7 14.7 VIC 28.5 27.2 QLD 31.5 20.1 WA 27.3 11.9 – 30 SA 28.7 27.1 TAS 9.0 6.6 NT 10.0 5.9 ACT 31.1 12.7 AUS 23.8 18.7-20.3 Source: MJA analysis.

Note: Range represents inclusion or not of Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment Project. Across the country, every jurisdiction appears likely to recycle lower volumes in 2015 than was anticipated in 2008. The key changes include:  the single largest contributor to the reduction in volume is SEQ’s Western Corridor project, which was expected to deliver 85GL per year of IPR into the water grid, but will instead deliver only 14-22GL per year to industrial and municipal uses. Reductions in WCRWP output to 2015 compared with 2009/10 volumes actually reduce SEQ’s recycled water use over this time period;  the ACT’s Water Purification Scheme was an IPR project which was being prepared for demonstration in 2008, for potential production of 9.1GL per annum by 2015.

This project was discontinued by the project proponent ACTEW;  many individual projects planned to 2015 were reported at maximum capacity, but have delivered significantly below this capacity due to demand shortages. Expected growth to 2015 can be expected to fall short of capacity for many projects;  while not contributing to wastewater recycling percentages stated above, South Australia’s stormwater projects were estimated to harvest 18GL per year by 2015. Current estimates suggest that 10GL per year will now occur (although estimations of stormwater yield are notoriously imprecise). Additionally, agricultural wastewater recycling demand in South Australia is now considered exhausted and future growth to 2015 is unlikely.

2.3 National recycled water themes The current study highlights a number of important national themes.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 20 Progress against the national target of 30% of Australia’s wastewater being recycled by 2015 ASSOCIATES MARSDEN JACOB 2.3.1 A shift towards potable substitution The early recycled water projects producing significant volumes of water were predominantly agricultural projects using recycled water with low levels of treatment. Figure 12 shows current wastewater recycling projects by use (in blue), and expected augmentations to 2015. While agricultural projects dominate the historical picture, future augmentations are dominated municipal, industrial and commercial, in addition to environmental projects, including Sydney’s environmental flows project.

Should it proceed, Perth’s Groundwater Replenishment project will also add a further 25-35GL per year of indirect potable reuse (IPR) to this picture.

Figure 12: Current and expected wastewater recycling by 2015, by use (ML/year) Source: MJA analysis based on various sources. Importantly, from an urban water supply perspective, by 2015 up to half of wastewater recycling will substitute for potable supplies (with the inclusion of Perth’s IPR project), and thus contribute to urban water supply security. Additionally, the Western Corridor project is being used as a potential 85GL per year drought response option, which is the first dedicated use of a recycled water project for urban water security in Australia. As such, recent and future recycled water projects are contributing to urban water supply security as never before.

2.3.2 Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) developments The use of recycled wastewater to augment potable supplies remains controversial in Australia. While direct potable reuse of recycled wastewater is absent from planning in Australia, a number of indirect potable reuse (IPR) projects have been mooted in different jurisdictions. IPR involves high level treatment of wastewater, with subsequent storage (and natural filtration) in groundwater aquifers or receiving waters (rivers, dams).