Cairns Regional Council has committed further funding in its latest budget to the construction of the Marlin Coast and Northern recycled water schemes with $6.7 million allocated to the completion of the two water treatment plants.

The Northern scheme is nearing completion and is expected to be used for irrigation at the Cairns Botanic Gardens by the end of 2013.

It is estimated that the Botanic Gardens will use up to 750 kilolitres a day of recycled water during the dry season.

“In addition, we are looking at potentially upgrading the Marlin Coast system to a Class A+ recycled water rating,” Mayor Bob Manning said.

“This is the highest-possible classification and the water supplied would be suitable for use in dual-reticulation homes.

“This would take pressure off our drinking water supplies and achieve future cost savings for both Council and residents.”

In terms of general Water and Waste infrastructure, emphasis has been placed on a strong maintenance program, combined with improved operational efficiencies.

Recent upgrades to the Materials Recovery (Recycling) Facility will allow Council to introduce on-site glass-crushing, saving around $127,500 a year in transport costs and reducing landfill.

Further savings will be harnessed through the internal use of sand created through the crushing process.

“This year, the focus is on maintaining our infrastructure to ensure the integrity of our vital services, such as water supply and sewerage,” Cr Manning said.

“We aren’t starting any major new projects, but we are investing heavily in the existing networks and improving efficiencies through upgrades that will lead to significant future savings.”

Fast facts:

  • Total Capital Works expenditure Water and Waste – $45.98 million
  • Recycled water treatment plants construction – $6.7 million
  • Sewerage pump station renewal – $9.5 million
  • Sewer relining – $2 million
  • Portsmith Landfill power generation plant $1.2 million
  • Recycled water distribution mains at Smithfield – $1 million
  • Copperlode Dam destratification (water mixing) equipment upgrade – $902,000
  • Materials Recovery Facility maintenance and improvements – $870,000
  • Mulgrave River Aquifer – $300,000

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