THE City of Sydney has selected a consortium to develop a decentralised water master plan that would include Australia's first city-wide recycled water network and reduce demands on drinking water supplies.
The selected consortium, announced last week, comprises engineering consultants GHD, the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney and Public Private Partnership Consultants P3iC.
The group will develop different business models to implement the decentralised water plan including a private sector water services company or a public/private joint venture. The water master plan would also outline water efficiency measures to reduce consumption and methods to collect more water locally.
The plan will apply to the City of Sydney Local Government Area (LGA), which currently imports 32 gigalitres of drinking-quality water each year, mainly from Warragamba Dam. It is estimated that 80 per cent could be supplemented by recycled water including toilet flushing, laundry, air conditioning cooling towers and irrigation.
The recycled water network would connect to apartment, commercial and institutional buildings which are responsible for 80 per cent of the water consumption in the LGA. The system would allow buildings to take recycled water from the network and to supply any excess recycled water to the network.
City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said drinking water supplies will face long-term pressures due to a growing population and climate change.
"The recycled water network is part of a long term strategy to make better use of our water resources and will provide a model for other Australian cities".
The sources of recycled water could include treated stormwater, treated water from kitchens and laundries and cleansed and disinfected black water sourced from sewers.
Chief Development Officer (Energy and Climate Change), Allan Jones, said such a water network has not been implemented anywhere else in Australia.