Water recycling firmly in government's sights: Minister

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey eager to explore variety of recycled water options in 2021

Politics
NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey is eager to explore a variety of water recycling options this year. Photo: Peter Hardin

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey is eager to explore a variety of water recycling options this year. Photo: Peter Hardin

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Recycled water projects part of Water Minister's 2021 agenda.

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CALLS for the state government to explore more recycled water measures are being heard according to the state's water boss.

A spokesperson for NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the government would be investigating a raft of different water sustainability measures across the state this year.

"The NSW Government recognises the important role water recycling plays in bolstering water supplies and is supportive of exploring a diverse range of water security solutions including reuse opportunities," the spokesperson said.

"A state-wide approach to water reuse will be one focus in the State Water Strategy, currently in development for consultation in early 2021."

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One of those investigations is the Namoi Regional Water Strategy, which will be considering future water needs and water security risks in the region, as well as delivering greater water efficiency.

"In regional NSW, 12 per cent of the total water supply is already sourced from recycled water," the spokesperson said.

"Water recycling is practiced by 70pc of the 92 local water utilities in regional NSW.

"This includes Tamworth Regional Council, where Council has reported the supply of more than 4000ML recycled water (primarily to agriculture) per year for the last 5 years."

The Minister's stance comes after Tamworth ecologist Phil Spark urged the government to consider more recycled water options in light of recent rain.

"Now is the time to make some really good decisions that will look after water security for the long-term," Mr Spark said.

"I hope this rain can allow a bit of room to breath and some time for investigation of the different options.

"I think there are enough wheels in motion now that those considerations will get more investigation."

Mr Spark said the recent rain would also provide the government time to reconsider building a new Dungowan Dam near Tamworth, a new dam on the Mole River near Tenterfield and raising the Wyangala Dam wall in the Central West.

However, a state government survey of 850 locals found that 88 per cent were in favour of building the new Dungowan Dam, while 84pc were in favour of raising the Wyangala Dam wall.

Ms Pavey said the survey, conducted in October, demonstrated the community's support for the projects.

"This survey reinforces what we already know, that these communities want this government to invest in infrastructure that will shore-up future water security for towns and farmers while also providing economic stimulus and jobs to help the regions continue to recover from the pandemic," she said.

"We were also very interested to understand the primary concerns of these communities which were highlighted as potential water costs and environmental impacts - we hear these concerns and will continue to engage with local communities on these important matters as the projects move ahead."

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