Parkes Shire Council has completed its new Recycled Water Scheme (RWS), which was designed to create a connection between irrigated open spaces and high-quality recycled water.

The RWS strengthens Parkes’ water security by providing an additional source of water for non-potable (non-drinking) use, while addressing recurring water shortages and building drought resilience.

Parkes Shire Council’s Director of Infrastructure, Andrew Francis, said, “The RWS reclaims 250ML of wastewater a year, avoiding the release of the same volume of effluent to the environment, and saving 185ML drinking water that would otherwise be used for municipal irrigation.

“By implementing the RWS, the council is ensuring public greenspaces can be maintained in prime condition – including during dry times – preserving amenity for residents and visitors.”

The RWS now comprises 16 end user sites, 12km pipeline, three pump stations, a reservoir and is fed by a resource-efficient, fit-for-purpose water recycling facility.

“A list of the connected sites can be viewed via Council’s website which include sporting ovals, recreational and green spaces,” Mr Francis said.

“Residents are reminded to take note of watering times identified on signage at these locations and to avoid contact during irrigation. 

“While recycled water is safe for irrigation, it is not suitable for human consumption and residents are advised to avoid direct contact with sprinkler sprays.”

Parkes Shire Council Infrastructure Technical Manager, Julian Fyfe, said sustainability was a key consideration from the project’s conception, and Council has ensured that stringent targets were set and communicated with construction partners and contractors.

“The RWS achieves significant water and energy savings; substituting potable supply for public open space irrigation reduces demand on our potable supply, and by incorporating solar PV and operational scheduling we have kept energy consumption as low as possible,” Mr Fyfe said.

“This new water source provides a local, climate-resilient water source that is resource efficient and cheaper to operate. 

“The new control system means that we can track and manage water consumption easily through the web portal. 

“It also provides an easy way to identify leaks, as we can see water use remotely and in real time and compare it with scheduled access.

“Construction impacts on the natural environment were minimal. No habitat trees have had to be removed to enable any of the work. 

“There was minimal creek disturbance and immediate revegetation of disturbed riparian areas.

“The Recycled Water Rising Main (RWRM) project diverted over 90 per cent of waste from landfill and beneficially reused 2,480 tonnes of spoil generated from excavation works. 

“One of the main reuse destinations was a new garden at the Eastern town entrance, which is now irrigated with recycled water. 

“We have also planted screening vegetation around the reservoir to preserve visual amenity for residents, as well as built a unique aboriginal cultural garden at Bushman’s Hill as a project value-add.”

The RWS formed part of a once-in-a-lifetime overhaul of Council’s urban water supply and wastewater schemes including a $100 million multi award-winning Integrated Water Infrastructure Program, including new water and sewage treatment plants and an advanced water recycling facility.

The $20.9 million Recycled Water Scheme is jointly funded between the Australian Government and Parkes Shire Council. 

The Australian Government provided $8,725,000 towards the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme under the National Stronger Regions Fund.

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