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RecycleWater19: Water reuse will happen – we must educate, learn and apply

Infinite Water was proud to be the Gold Sponsor at the National RecycleWater 2019 Conference, held in Melbourne. The Conference provided a great platform for informed discussion and debate on the challenges in gaining and accelerating momentum on acceptance of recycled water.

Attendees included metro and regional utilities, councils, regulators, consultants, advisers, universities and vendors.

Over the 2 days, the key themes and take-aways for our team were:

  1. It is imperative to educate and involve the full spectrum of community stakeholders;
  2. As an industry, we need to be much better at applying learnings from local and global experiences; and
  3. Recognise that there is already appetite for reuse, particularly in IPR (indirect potable reuse).

1. Education and broad community involvement

  • To accelerate progress towards broad and effective reuse, it is very important (and we must do a better job) to involve ALL stakeholders.
  • Education is critical to address public concern and perceptions of risk.
  • We must be risk-focused, identifying, addressing and managing the risks.
  • "There is no ‘zero risk’ scenario and we do have to identify ‘management’ options" (Prof Ian Law).
  • We could think about changing some of the language that is used to help move the perception from one of risk aversion and community concern to one of simply using available resources for alternate uses. For example we could talk about:
    - "Used water" rather than "waste water"
    - "Unregulated contaminants" rather than "emerging contaminants"

Key Questions

  1. Why should we consider reusing wastewater at all?
  2. Is it safe to reuse? (For irrigation, washing, cooking, drinking, feeding stock etc)
  3. What are the risks? How can we mitigate against those risks?
  4. What difference can it make to families, communities in water scarcity situations?
  5. How can we convince people that this makes so much sense to do?

2. Apply learning from local and global experiences

  • As an industry, we should be doing a much better job at drawing on experiences from around the world.
  • There are some brilliant examples from around the world, case studies and operating schemes, covering both direct and indirect potable reuse:
    -  In Australia, WA WaterCorp's GWR (Water Replenishment Scheme) in Perth. The first trials and public education began in earnest in ~2010. By 2060, GWR could make up to 20% of Perth's water supply.
    - A great example of improving water security by utilising recycled water is Salisbury, South Australia. Usage of drinking water in Mawson Lakes has reduced by 50% (compared to Adelaide average) saving 800 ML of drinking water per year.
    -  The modularised 'plug-and-play design at Davis Station in the Antarctic, where "robustness criteria" played a key part in defining success for this remote location.
    - There are multiple examples from countries around the world including USA, India, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa, Belgium, France and Spain.
    - The oldest application, now 51 years old - the Goreangab Plant in Windhoek, Namibia.

Key Questions

  1. Who else around the world is reusing water in ways we can learn from?
  2. What benefits are being realised?
  3. What are the reactions of those using recycled water?
  4. What are the different contexts where it is being implemented?
  5. How can we better leverage these experiences to improve water security?

3. Technologies and applications

  • There is strongest potential for reuse in IPR (indirect potable reuse) applications.
  • There is an appetite for new cost-effective technologies for municipal wastewater treatment. Existing technologies are often felt to be expensive.

Please click on the link to:

  • Get more information on our Hydroxon™ technology or
  • Ask about our Infinite Water presentation at the RecycledWater19 Conference: "Hydroxon™ - A Step Closer to Potable Re-use", or have a question contact us on +61 2 9218 4300

#impact #wastewater #wastewatertreatment #recycle #reuse #watersecurity

(Qualifier: These themes are personal views of the Infinite Water attendees and not an official representation of the Conference.)

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