Marking its ten-year anniversary, the Glenelg to Adelaide Pipeline, South Australia’s largest water reuse system, has seen over 25 billion litres of climate-independent recycled water, sustaining around 163 hectares of city parks and the pristine turf of Karen Rolton Oval.

The $76 million initiative delivered by SA Water in 2010 to address the Millennium Drought’s impact on Adelaide’s parklands and liveability through greening and cooling, moves high-quality treated wastewater from the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant through a 42km network of purple pipes to locations across Adelaide and North Adelaide.

SA Water’s General Manager of Customers, Strategy and Innovation, Anna Jackson, said marking the scheme’s ten year anniversary during National Water Week provides a timely opportunity to celebrate the value of recycled water to its users, the environment and community liveability.

“In today’s changing climate, having diversified and secure water sources is paramount, and through schemes like the Glenelg to Adelaide Pipeline (GAP), we’re working with communities to achieve this, while also creating circular economies that support a healthy South Australia,” Ms Jackson said.

“By harnessing innovation and strategic investment, our wastewater treatment plants continue to evolve into resource recovery centres, ripe with opportunities for integrated water cycles and waste reuse which is breathing new life into an invaluable resource.

“Recycled water is fit for a range of purposes, including horticultural application, primary production, irrigation of green open spaces and toilet flushing, with the GAP supplying major venues like Adelaide Oval and the Adelaide Convention Centre.

“The GAP’s successful first ten years has seen the volume and type of customers grow substantially and we’re now also delivering water for toilet flushing at Adelaide Airport, the vibrant Bowden residential development and at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“Additionally, water through the scheme provides the added benefit of producing large-scale environmental heat reduction during summer to help cool the CBD and surrounding suburbs. 

“These irrigated areas are around five degrees cooler on hot days, helping shield the city and fringe suburbs from extreme heat by using an alternate source of water to create a cooling effect.”

Before flowing through a network of pipes, pump stations and storage tanks, recycled water through the GAP is treated at SA Water’s Glenelg facility by ultrafiltration membranes, and ultraviolet and chlorine disinfection.

Upgrades to the facility’s clarifiers, diffusers and ultrafiltration membranes are currently underway to further enhance the quality of treated wastewater supplying the advanced water recycling plant at Glenelg.

40 customers are now sharing around 2.3 billion litres of reuse water each year via the GAP scheme, with Karen Rolton Oval, located in the western parklands opposite the Royal Adelaide Hospital, one of the connections to benefit.

South Australian Cricket Association Grounds Manager, Trent Kelly, said the sustainable supply enables a first-class ground all year round.

“Our new precinct provides a significant piece of core infrastructure across all levels of cricket and recycled water is playing a major role in curating a green, lush playing surface capable of attracting the sport’s elite,” Mr Kelly said.

“Hosting this week’s game between South Australia and Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield is a testament to the facility’s condition and accessing recycled water underpins the long-term viability of maintaining the oval’s surface in our dry climate.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that we can work together with SA Water to create a sustainable future for our state and its communities.”

SA Water is the second largest recycler of water in Australia, contributing around 30 billion litres of recycled water through 16 schemes across regional and metropolitan South Australia.

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