An important lesson from the Millennium Drought in Australia was the power of individuals to curb their own water use. This was achieved through public education campaigns and water restrictions. It was a popular topic in the media and in daily conversations before the focus turned to desalination for water security.
Water authorities were also expanding the use of treated wastewater – often a polite term for sewage – for “non-potable” uses. These included flushing toilets, watering gardens, and washing cars and laundry.
Today, the emphasis on recycling wastewater in some locations is declining. The arguments for increased water recycling appear to be falling away now that desalinated water is available.
This trend ignores the fact that the potential supply of recycled water increases as populations grow.
Today most Australian wastewater is treated then disposed into local streams, rivers, estuaries and the ocean. In Sydney, for example, the city’s big three outfalls dump nearly 1 billion litres (1,000 megalitres, ML) a day into the ocean.
Read the full article on The Conversation.
This is the second of two articles looking at the increasing reliance of Australian cities on desalination plants to supply drinking water, with less emphasis on the alternatives of water recycling and demand management. The first article can be found here on APO.