Sydney Water has announced a $26 million investment with the opening of its Purified Recycled Water (PRW) demonstration plant in Western Sydney, designed to help safeguard the city’s water supply.
The opening of the plant comes as Warragamba Dam levels drop a further two per cent.
Dams across Greater Sydney have collectively dropped 0.3 per cent, down to 88 per cent capacity, while Warragamba Dam has dropped to 92 per cent capacity over the past two weeks despite recent rain.
Sydney Water said another drought is inevitable, and there is a critical need to safeguard the city’s water supply and find alternative sources of water to minimise the impact.
As part of a 30-year plan to help secure the future of water, the demonstration plant, located at Quakers Hill, is one option being explored to supplement Greater Sydney’s Water supply to ensure Sydney is less dependent on rainfall.
The PRW demonstration plant is the first of its kind in New South Wales, and is designed to show the community that Sydney Water has the sophisticated technology to treat and supplement drinking water that’s safe and reliable.
Water produced at the PRW plant does not contribute to Sydney’s drinking water supply, however the focus is to show the community how reliable the technology is to treat recycled water to a quality suitable to supplement drinking water sources.
The water produced from the PRW centre will be a safe, high-quality and cost-effective water supply option, producing 0.5ML per day, or between five to six litres per second.
Sydney Water Managing Director, Roch Cheroux, said people need to start doing things differently to secure water for the future.
“Our climate and city are changing, and as we experience more severe and intense weather events, we need to adapt by looking beyond rainfall to future-proof Greater Sydney’s water supply,” Mr Cheroux said.
“We must explore various water supply options, including desalination and purified recycled water, to help maintain our drinking water supply.”
Sydney Water’s Long-Term Capital and Operational Plan (LTCOP) has identified critical infrastructure required to accommodate the population boom, a changing climate, upgrades to ageing infrastructure, and the rising cost of living.
Over the next ten years, Sydney Water will invest more than $30 billion as part of the LTCOP to upgrade existing networks and deliver new infrastructure.
“We are at a unique point in time with existing, new and emerging challenges creating the opportunity to rethink how we provide essential services,” Mr Cheroux said.
“The LTCOP highlights that we must once again invest in new assets and networks to secure our city’s water and wastewater services, acknowledging the impact on bill prices and our desire to keep them affordable.
“As an essential service provider, the challenges we’re facing require that we make significant investments now to secure our city’s water and wastewater services for the next generation and generations to come,” Mr Cheroux said.
PRW is water recycled from industry and homes (including kitchens, showers and toilets) that has been purified to meet strict Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling to supplement raw water sources (such as rain, rivers and dams).
More than 35 cities worldwide already use PRW as a safe, resilient, and reliable component of their drinking water supply. These cities include Singapore, Orange County, San Diego and Perth.