Hunter Water has invested $6 million to expand the recycled water irrigation scheme in Lake Macquarie to deliver an additional 20ML of recycled water per year for public open space irrigation.
Working with Lake Macquarie City Council, the expansion will prepare the Edgeworth Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) to provide extra water for Lake Macquarie parks and sporting fields.
The investment will increase recycled water capacity at the Edgeworth plant, to make recycled water available for Jack McLaughlan Oval and Edgeworth Oval in Edgeworth, and the Pasterfield Sports Complex in Cameron Park.
The Edgeworth WWTW has been supplying recycled water to Waratah Golf Course for more than 25 years, having also supplied recycled water to Oceanic Coal Washery prior to its closure.
The project builds on the utility’s work with Lake Macquarie City during the last drought (2019 and 2020) which delivered water efficiency improvements for parks and sporting field irrigation.
Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Cleary, said recycled water is a safe option that conserves valuable drinking water by matching alternative water sources with appropriate water uses.
Mr Cleary said the community increasingly expects Hunter Water to improve the region’s water resilience and sustainability and that’s the real benefit from this project.
“Our community has told us they want to see more water recycling and they are willing to pay to support this,” Mr Cleary said.
“The Edgeworth scheme will replace drinking water to ensure these community assets continue to be in good condition.”
Lake Macquarie City Council Mayor, Kay Fraser, said using recycled water will help ensure playing fields are available to be used all year round, even in the event of a future drought.
“Lake Macquarie City Council is committed to creating a sustainable future for our city and this long-term water efficiency initiative will reduce the use of drinking water for irrigation in favour of alternative water sources,” Ms Fraser said.
“It will also ensure we can keep our sporting fields, gardens and other public spaces green, which is important for the amenity and wellbeing of our community.”
Now in the design and investigations phase, Hunter Water anticipates starting construction late next year with recycled water supplied from the scheme in early 2024.
The Lake Macquarie recycled water irrigation project builds on the March announcement that Hunter Water, the Newcastle Jockey Club and City of Newcastle signed a three-party Memorandum of Understanding to further explore and investigate capturing stormwater to irrigate the Newcastle Racecourse and nearby sporting fields.
Featured Image: Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Cleary, and Lake Macquarie City Council Mayor, Kay Fraser. Image courtesy of Hunter Water.