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LHWP Information Sheets

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  • 1. Water efficiency and conservation ensure that we are making smart use of the water that we have. All members ofthe lower Hunter community, including businesses, residents and Hunter Water, can take an active role in reducingdemands on the water supply by adopting water efficiency measures and reducing water leakage.Residential water efficiency - Currently, the Hunter region has a high uptake of water efficient programs anddevices. The promotion and adoption of water saving appliances plays a key role in helping to increase these savingsevery year. Two well-known examples of residential water efficiency initiatives are the showerhead exchangeprogram and the toilet replacement program.Business water efficiency - Non-residential customers can have a strong influence on water efficiency by makingchanges either in the way they use water, or by replacing drinking quality water with another source that is ‘fit-for-purpose’. Actions may include retrofits to equipment, audits of water use, or installing data loggers to monitor andbetter manage water use.Loss minimisation - The pipes and infrastructure that make up the water supply network are subject to leaks, breaksand overflows. Leaks occurring within the home can be identified and addressed by homeowners. Leaks in thegreater part of the network are addressed by Hunter Water.Savings from water efficiency and lossminimisation programs have increasedsteadily in recent years, as shown in thegraph. In 2011-12, around 950 ML (1 ML= 1 million litres) of drinking water wassaved from water efficiency measures,and around 570 ML was saved from lossminimisation measures.This series of information sheetsoutlines opportunities to build on waterefficiency and loss minimisationprograms.To maximise the benefit of theseprograms in the lower Hunter, it will beimportant to consider the combination of measuresthat achieve water savings while weighing up theeconomic, social and environmental implications.Water Efficiency Water Efficiency - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 1.0Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplan05001000150020002006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12VolumeofWater(ML)YearDrinking Water SavingsWater efficiency Loss minimisation
  • 2. What is non-residential water efficiency?Water efficiency means making the most of the current sources of water and involves using less water and reducingthe wastage of water. Using water more efficiently can have both financial and environmental benefits forcustomers and the broader community.Non-residential customers include industries, small businesses, office buildings, schools, hospitals, shopping centres,hotels, restaurants and recreational facilities. These customers can improve their water efficiency by:using products that are more water efficientchanging the way they use waterminimising losses or wastageusing recycled water or treated stormwater in business or industrial processes instead of using drinkingquality water.Other ways of improving non-residential water efficiency include:audits of water use to identify opportunities to reduce water use. These audits can include looking at wateruse in kitchens, cooling towers, amenities, steam generation, irrigation, etcsubsidies or incentives to install more water-efficient appliances (such as dual-flush toilets, water-savingshowerheads, washing machines and trigger-operated spray guns)installing data loggers to continuously monitor water use and identify potential leaksraising customer awareness by providing information and examples of how to save water.What support is available for non-residential customers?Hunter Water currently has four programs to help non-residential customers improve their water efficiency. Theseare outlined in the table below, along with an indication of the water savings that might be achieved.The greatest water savings generally involve the largest water users. Hunter Water has about 30 ‘water-intensive’customers who each use more than 50 ML (1 ML = 1 million litres) each year. Together they make up over 50% ofnon-residential usage, so programs that focus on these customers are likely to produce the largest water savings.Program Target Market Potential Water SavingsLarge customer audit program Major customers (use more than 50ML/year) 10-25% for each participant for allusesHunter Business WaterSavers ProgramCommercial customers who use significant quantities of water intheir bathrooms and kitchens for non-drinking water purposes30% of total bathroom and kitchenusesIrrigation water efficiencyauditsAll irrigation activities such as public open spaces, sports fieldsand school ovals30% of total irrigation usesHunter Water facilities audit Wastewater treatment plants 15% average for each site, based onsite assessments completed so farWater Efficiency Non-Residential Water EfficiencyINFORMATION SHEET 1.1
  • 3. While the existing programs focus on helping customers to use water more efficiently in ‘normal’ (non-drought)times, a further step could target greater water efficiency during drought through voluntary or mandatory programs.These might include:increasing levels of customer contact and educationoffering incentives for retrofitting water-efficient equipmentproviding funding for customers to implement actions identified in water use auditsrequiring large customers to develop and implement water efficiency management plans.Some of these concepts are also explored in Information Sheet 2.2 on Drought Restrictions.What do other water authorities in Australia do?Most water authorities in Australia have supported a range of non-residential water efficiency initiatives over anumber of years. The most common initiatives are audits of major customers to develop water efficiencymanagement plans and monitoring programs to detect leaks.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsCustomer participation rates may be low in voluntary programs,particularly for customers where water is a relatively small costFollow up is needed to make sure that water saving initiativesidentified in water use audits have been implementedCommunity support is vital for water efficiency programsEffective incentives and enforcement of mandatory programs may beneeded to achieve savings in a droughtEnvironmental considerationsReducing demand for water may delay the need to implement othermajor infrastructure measuresSocial considerationsEncourages water efficient behaviourDemonstrates that saving water is a shared responsibility betweenbusinesses and the communitySome business customers may find it difficult to absorb the cost ofequipment upgrades and/or retrofitsLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 4. What does residential water efficiency mean?Members of the community can influence how water-efficient they are simply by changing some of the waysthey use water and by choosing water efficient appliancesfor the home.Examples of residential water efficiency include installingwater efficient showerheads, tap aerators and dual flushtoilets, using trigger nozzles for garden hoses, andchoosing garden plants that need less water.Water efficiency can also be improved by buying morewater-efficient washing machines and dishwashers whenthey need to be replaced.What water efficiency programs are available in the Hunter region?Hunter Water has recently reviewed the effectiveness of its water efficiency incentive programs. This review foundthat households that took part in the toilet replacement program (replacing single-flush toilets) saved an average of20 kilolitres of water a year. Those households that took part in the showerhead exchange program saved anaverage of 12 kilolitres of water a year.Existing water efficiency initiatives could be expanded to achieve greater savings. Initiatives such as incentives topurchase and install water efficient washing machines and toilets, making comparative water use informationavailable on customer bills, and education and behavioural change programs are some potential ways of saving morewater.Some initiatives may achieve higher water savings, for example smart metering and advanced water bills thatcompare water use details based on occupancy. However, given the relatively high level of residential waterefficiency in the lower Hunter, the cost to implement these initiatives can be significant compared to the amount ofwater saved.What is happening in other parts of Australia?Many areas throughout Australia have put in place a range of residential water efficiency initiatives directed at bothmanaging demand in normal times, and reducing water use in drought.The BASIX program applies to new homes that are built in New South Wales. BASIX is a planning policy that makessure new residential properties are designed to use less drinking water, for example by installing a 4-Star WELSshower head or installing a rainwater tank (see Information Sheet 3.2 for more information). BASIX also applies tomajor renovations in existing homes.Water Efficiency Residential Water EfficiencyINFORMATION SHEET 1.2Installing a water efficient showerhead is aninexpensive way to improve water efficiency in the home
  • 5. At a national level, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme requires certain appliances andproducts to be registered and labelled with their water efficiency rating. This helps Australian consumers chooseproducts that save water and reduce their water and energy bills. The scheme began in 2005 and covers showers,taps, toilets, urinals, washing machines and dishwashers.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsWater savings may tend to taper off once the uptake of a particularwater saving device (such as showerheads and dual flush toilets) hasneared saturation, unless there are further innovations intechnologyEnvironmental considerationsEncourages the use of drought tolerant plantsReducing demand for water may delay the need to implement othermajor infrastructure measuresSocial considerationsCan reduce individual household water billsEncourages investment in innovation and alternative waterefficiency technologyCan reduce individual household water bills due to more efficienthot water usageLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 6. What is water loss minimisation?Water supply systems around the world all lose some water due to leaks and watermain breaks. Most water utilitieshave programs to reduce water losses from their systems in a cost-effective manner.How can water loss be minimised?Programs to reduce losses include active leak detection and water pressure management programs which arediscussed below. Other activities that help to reduce losses include replacing sections of water mains that have ahistory of breaks, replacing leaking water services (that is, the pipes between the water main and the meter), andresponding more quickly to breaks or leaks in the water supply system.Hunter Water estimates that leakage from the system has reduced by 30% over the last eight years.What is water loss benchmarking?Water utilities like Hunter Water benchmark their water loss performance using an international system called theInfrastructure Leakage Index (ILI). The ILI shows how current actual losses (leakage) compare with the theoreticallowest possible level of leakage that could be achieved by an agency’s water supply system. Hunter Water’s ILI isranked in the ‘excellent’ category, along with most major Australian water utilities.What is active leak detection?Leaks occur in all water supply systems particularly as the pipes age. Active leak detection is the use of listeningdevices to survey water supply networks and identify leaks before they would normally be seen and reported.This helps detect some leaks that may not be visible and might never be reported, such as leaks that drain below theground to the stormwater system or waterways.The 2011-12 active leak detection program covered 1160 kilometres of water mains across the west Lake Macquarieand Coalfields districts. The survey found 163 leaks corresponding to estimated water loss savings of 214 ML.Currently active leak detection occurs across theHunter Water system on a five-year program.Water Efficiency Water Loss MinimisationINFORMATION SHEET 1.3Repairing a water main
  • 7. How does pressure management work?Some customers receive water at very high pressure due to the set-up of the water distribution system and the localterrain. For example, houses that are at the bottom of hills can receive high pressure water if the local waterreservoir is situated high in the landscape. This very high pressure can result in the pipes developing a leak.Pressure management in these areas reduces the flow rate to customers. This reduces the frequency and volume ofleaks. Pressure is reduced by changing the way the network is configured or using a special valve.Options for expanding Hunter Water’s active leak detection and pressure management programs will be consideredas part of the development of the Lower Hunter Water Plan.Schematic showing why homes receive water at different pressures
  • 8. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.ACTIVE LEAK DETECTION LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timePRESSURE MANAGEMENT LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsIt can be technically difficult to establish pressure managementzones depending on the landscape and how the water network fitstogetherThere are few studies on the long term costs and benefitsEnvironmental considerationsReducing water losses may delay the need to implement othermajor infrastructure measuresSocial considerationsDemonstrates that saving water is a shared responsibility betweenHunter Water and the communityPressure management potentially extends asset life and reducescustomer inconvenience from water supply interruptions byreducing the variations in operating pressure which can causeinfrastructure to fail (e.g. burst water mains)Pressure management can be effective in reducing customer wateruse due to lower flow rates and lower leakage within the homeCustomers may be concerned by the difference in pressureLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 9. Ensuring that a secure supply of water is available relies on balancing both supply and customer demand. With everymeasure that reduces customer demand, more water remains in storage, possibly reducing the need for majorinvestment in new infrastructure on the supply side.In Australia and internationally, a broad range of approaches are used to manage demand, including pricing andrestrictions.The lower Hunter was the first region to introduce user pays water pricing in the early 1980s. This is now thestandard throughout Australia. As the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is responsible for thepricing structure for water supplied by Hunter Water, these information sheets will not cover pricing as a demandmanagement measure.Demand management activities can be permanent or temporary, voluntary or mandatory. Whichever approach istaken, community support is critical. Demand management will be more successful where the community is engagedin planning a demand management strategy and is committed to using water wisely.This series of information sheets discusses threepotential demand management strategies for theLower Hunter Water Plan:Water Wise Rules – simple, common senseactions that help save water every day.Drought restrictions – put in place duringtimes of drought to slow down the drop inwater storages.Voluntary water use targets – sometimesused during extreme drought to encouragecustomers to voluntarily reduce water useinside the home. These would be used inaddition to drought restrictions.DemandManagement Demand Management - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 2.0Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanUse of a trigger nozzle helps reduce water wastage
  • 10. What are Water Wise Rules?Water Wise Rules are simple, common sense actions that help conserve water every day. They are sometimesreferred to as ‘permanent water conservation measures’.Water Wise Rules already apply in the area serviced by Sydney Water (Sydney, the Blue Mountains and theIllawarra), as well as on the Central Coast and many towns throughout NSW. The rules apply to residents,businesses, local councils and government agencies. In some areas, including Sydney, fines can be applied forbreaches of the rules.Water Wise Rules were introduced in Sydney in 2009 following the lifting of drought water restrictions which hadbeen in place for nearly six years. The Central Coast also introduced permanent Water Wise Rules in 2012, after adecade of water restrictions.The lower Hunter has not experienced a similar lengthy period of water restrictions since the 1980s, as it wasfortunate during the last drought that the water storages were replenished by significant rainfall in 2007.The development of the Lower Hunter Water Plan provides a timely opportunity to seek community feedback onwhether this region should introduce Water Wise Rules and, if so, what these rules should be.What is currently in place in the lower Hunter?Although the lower Hunter does not have Water Wise Rules at present, Hunter Water does promote a range ofwater-saving tips to help the community save water in the home and garden. These include using a trigger nozzle towater plants and a broom rather than a hose for cleaning hard surfaces to reduce water wastage. Only using asprinkler before 10am and after 4pm, when the heat of the sun is no longer at its peak, to help to minimise naturalevaporation from lawns and gardens. Reducing your shower time and only using the washing machine anddishwasher with full loads to improve household water use. More tips can be found atwww.hunterwater.com.au/Save-Water/Save-Water.aspx.DemandManagement Water Wise RulesINFORMATION SHEET 2.1The Water Wise Rules introduced for Sydney and the Central Coast are similar to each other and focus onoutdoor water use. If comparable rules were implemented in the lower Hunter, they could include:Watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or trigger nozzle hose, is permitted any day before 10am orafter 4pm to avoid the heat of the dayAll hand held hoses must have a trigger nozzleNo hosing of hard surfaces such as paths and drivewaysAll vehicles should be washed with a bucket, trigger nozzle hose or pressure cleaner
  • 11. Where are Water Wise Rules applied in Australia?The ACT, South East Queensland, Adelaide, Sydney and the Central Coast all have various types of Water Wise Rulesin place. These rules were generally introduced at the time drought restrictions were lifted, when communityawareness of water saving behaviour was particularly high.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsCommunity support is vital when introducing Water Wise Rules,particularly if this occurs when restrictions have not been in placefor a long time.Water Wise Rules could be either advisory or enforceable.Enforceable rules could be implemented under the Hunter WaterRegulation 2010.Given the relatively high level of residential water efficiency in thelower Hunter, Water Wise Rules may not result in as much savingsas in some other jurisdictionsEnvironmental considerationsNo new infrastructure requiredReducing demand for water may delay the need to implementother major infrastructure measuresMore efficient use of water in the garden by reducing evaporationand wasteEncourages use of drought tolerant plantsSocial considerationsEncourages water efficient behaviour both indoors and outdoorsCommunity actively contributes to water securityConsistency with most large cities in Australia and adjacent regionalareasCan reduce individual household water billsSome household activities may be inconveniencedPotential for fines to apply for breaching the rulesLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 12. Why do we need drought restrictions?Water use restrictions can be used to limit water use in and around the home and by non-residential customers.Restrictions can be implemented in times of drought to help reduce the demand for water and slow down the dropin water storages.What types of restrictions are used?Drought restrictions apply to all households equally. They may include actions such as banning fixed sprinklers,limiting hours and days that hoses can be used, requiring hoses to have a trigger nozzle and banning outdoor usecompletely when storage levels are very low.Water use by non-residential customers is quite diverse, and reductions in water use may be achieved moreeffectively through customised programs for similar groups of customers. Programs to improve non-residentialwater efficiency (as discussed in Information Sheet 1.1) could be extended in drought times when restrictions apply.For example, the development and implementation of water efficiency management plans could be mademandatory for medium-large water users.Restrictions are mandatory and enforceable under the Hunter Water Regulation 2010. Some exemptions may apply,such as for public health reasons or for customers with special needs.Different restrictions would be triggered when the total water storage volume reaches various levels. Current triggerlevels for the Hunter are:1. low restriction (60% storage)2. medium restriction (50% storage)3. high restriction (40% storage)4. extreme restriction (30% storage).The figure below shows target usage levels and an indication of the type of restrictions that would be in place forresidential customers. As discussed above, non-residential water restrictions may be more complex due to thediversity of water use.DemandManagement Drought RestrictionsINFORMATION SHEET 2.2The targets are for use perperson in litres per day (LPD)
  • 13. Other options include rules similar to Sydney (Water Wise Rules plus two levels of restrictions) or the Central Coast(Water Wise Rules plus five levels of restrictions). Having similar drought restriction rules to neighbouring regionscould be beneficial as it may minimise confusion for people moving or travelling between regions.What restrictions are used in other parts of Australia?Many Australian cities have planned for and used drought restrictions. The majority of these have been staged, withmore severe water restrictions being implemented as storage levels drop.Restrictions have applied to watering gardens and lawns, filling pools, cleaning vehicles and boats, washing hardsurfaces and pavements and using water on recreational fields and parks.Residential water use restrictions were previously implemented by Hunter Water in droughts during the 1990s,1980s and 1960s.Restricting outdoor water use was a key element in securing Sydney’s water supply during the most recent drought,with restrictions in place from 2003 until 2009. The restrictions on outdoor water use were progressively increasedin response to declining storage levels. Water Wise Rules were introduced when drought restrictions were lifted in2009. Water Wise Rules are discussed in Information Sheet 2.1.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWater From low to medium, depending on length of droughtCostLead timeImplementation considerationsCommunity is familiar with the concept of restrictions although theyhave not been applied in the lower Hunter for some timeIt is important for communication with customers on restrictions tobe regular, clear and consistent.Environmental considerationsNo new water supply infrastructure requiredReducing demand for water may delay the need to implement othermajor infrastructure measuresEncourages use of drought tolerant plantsLoss of plants and animal habitat in the urban environment due tolack of waterSocial considerationsEncourages water efficient behaviour both indoors and outdoorsSome household activities may be inconveniencedAdverse impacts on gardens and playing fieldsReduces individual choices about water useLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 14. What are voluntary water use targets?Voluntary water use targets are a way of encouraging further community water conservation during drought. Theyinvolve encouraging people to achieve a set target for maximum daily water use per person.Water use targets are usually put in place when restrictions have reached the maximum level (including a total banon outdoor use) yet water storage levels are continuing to drop.The target is a way of encouraging the community to make voluntary reductions in indoor water use to achieve moresavings – effectively rationing their water use. They are called ‘voluntary’ because indoor restrictions cannot beenforced.Voluntary water use targets are implemented using substantial multi-media campaigns. Monitoring is usually viafeedback to the community of the area’s water use per person in litres per day (LPD) using a range of media.What might this look like in the lower Hunter?The average water use for unrestricted residential demand in the lower Hunter is currently 198 LPD per person.Depending on the drought conditions, the aim of voluntary water use targets would be to reduce the water use to atarget level in the order of, say, 140 LPD per person. The community would be asked to reduce indoor water usewith actions such as having shorter showers and minimising waste in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.The indicative target of 140 LPD per person (29% savings compared to average use) is based on water usage in thehome and outdoors in the lower Hunter as well as considering the experience of other water authorities in the lastdrought.Where are voluntary water use targets used in Australia?Major metropolitan centres in Australia - such as Melbourne and South East Queensland - have introduced voluntarywater targets during drought. These were applied in addition to drought restrictions. During the recent drought insouth eastern Australia, Melbourne set a voluntary personal water use target of 155 LPD per person and averaged149 LPD per person over 2009-10.South East Queensland successfully achieved a voluntary water target of 140 LPD in the recent severe drought. Infact, South East Queensland residents reduced daily water use from a pre-campaign average of 179 LPD to 126 LPD,and retained those reductions for more than a year.The Central Coast’s minimum use during the recent drought was 153 LPD per person, very close to their target of150 LPD per person. Even though restrictions have been lifted, the Central Coast has retained an ‘aspirational’voluntary daily water use target of 150 LPD per person to encourage ongoing efforts to achieve high levels of waterefficiency.Recent drought restrictions in the Sydney metropolitan area applied only to outdoor water use. Analysis of the watersavings achieved has found that about half the total reduction in demand occurred indoors. This suggests people arewilling to restrict their water use beyond the measures imposed by drought restrictions.DemandManagement Voluntary Water Use TargetsINFORMATION SHEET 2.3
  • 15. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsVoluntary targets and results would need to be communicatedwidely to the community with associated costsVoluntary targets are not enforceableTracking and reporting against the water use target would be doneat an average level across the community, although householdscould monitor their own meter readings if they chose to do soEnvironmental considerationsNo new infrastructure requiredReducing demand for water may delay the need to implementother major infrastructure measuresSocial considerationsCommunity working together to achieve water saving goalsProvides choice about how people make savings within their homeand contribute to water securityMay cause concerns about equity because some people willcontribute to voluntary reductions more than othersSome household activities may be inconveniencedLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 16. Australia is one of the driest continents on earth and has one of the most variable rainfall patterns. The recentdroughts along much of the east coast of Australia have highlighted the importance of saving water and looking atinnovative solutions that capture rain when it is available rather than letting it just ‘run down the drain’ and intowaterways.This series of information sheets looks at:Stormwater harvestingRainwater tanksStormwater harvesting is the collection, treatment, storage and use of stormwater runoff from urban areas. It isdifferent from rainwater harvesting in that it is collected from drains or creeks, rather than from roofs. Stormwatercapture can provide large quantities of non-drinking quality water that may be useful for sports grounds, parks andgardens, agriculture and flushing toilets. Stormwater runoff must be collected, stored and treated before it can beused.Rainwater tanks have been a valuable source of drinking water to many households in rural areas of Australia, wherea town water supply may not be available. Rainwater tanks can also be installed in new or existing homes with atown water supply and the water can be used in place of drinking water for a variety of non-drinking uses.In July 2005, the NSW Department of Planning expanded the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) scheme to thewhole of NSW. BASIX is a sustainable planning measure to reduce water and energy use in homes across NSW.In the Hunter Region, new homes are required to achieve a mandatory 40% reduction in potable water usecompared to average pre-BASIX volumes. Rainwater tanks have proven to be a popular choice in addressing BASIXrequirements with over 95% of single dwelling applications statewide nominating a rainwater tank as part of theproposed development.Whether it is rainwater from the roof or stormwater from thecatchment, water harvesting can play an important role inreducing reliance on water storages.StormwaterCaptureStormwater Capture - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 3.0Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanResidential use of a rainwater tank
  • 17. StormwaterCaptureStormwater Harvesting and UseWhat is stormwater harvesting and use?Stormwater harvesting and use is the collection, treatment, storage and use of stormwater runoff from urban areas.It is different from rainwater harvesting as the runoff is collected from drains or creeks, rather than from roofs.Stormwater runoff must be collected, stored and treated before it can be used. Storages may be open - in the formof a pond, weir or lake - or enclosed in a tank either above or below the ground.Urban stormwater collects contaminants as it passes over roads and other surfaces, picking up chemicals andpathogens from the surrounding environment. Stormwater needs to be treated to a quality that suits how the waterwill be used (eg, disinfection), according to public health and environmental guidelines.Opportunities for stormwater use in the lower Hunter include irrigation of golf courses, public parks, sportinggrounds and fields. Stormwater can also be used in industry including wash down, dust suppression and otheroperational processes. Another application is to substitute stormwater for drinking water for residential uses such astoilet flushing, washing laundry and irrigation within community scale development.A preliminary study has investigated stormwater harvesting at 17 case study sites such as golf courses, sportingfields, and some industrial sites with high water use, where stormwater might be substituted for drinking water.Is stormwater used widely in Australia and overseas?Stormwater schemes continue to be successfully implemented across Australia, irrigating sports fields, golf clubs andopen spaces. Some of the largest annual water savings have been achieved by Bexley Municipal Golf Course (66INFORMATION SHEET 3.1Schematic showing stormwater harvesting, treatment, storage and use
  • 18. million litres), and Northbridge Golf Club (92 million litres) in Sydney. Taronga Zoo uses treated stormwater to washdown exhibit enclosures, public toilet flushing and irrigation of 10 hectares of land, saving over 36 million litres ofdrinking water annually.Numerous stormwater schemes operate overseas, often involving local councils in partnership with privatedevelopers to use stormwater to irrigate parks and other public areas.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsTypically the most cost effective case studies use an existingstorage facility; the least cost effective case studies require morecollection and treatment infrastructureGrants can make a stormwater use scheme more viable forproponentsCould be delivered by different organisations e.g. local councils,private developersThe level of treatment required will vary depending on thestormwater quality and end useConstruction may disturb existing infrastructure in suburban areasEnvironmental considerationsReduces stormwater pollution loads released into waterwaysMay reduce benefits to waterway health as less stormwater isavailable for flushing flowsPotential environmental impacts during and after constructionSocial considerationsDemonstrates that improving water security is a sharedresponsibilityMaintains or improves the look, usability and safety of parks,playing fields and other open spaces without using drinking waterPotential aesthetic impacts from a small treatment plant locatednear park or playing fieldPotential for health risks if water is not used as intended, or fromcross-connection with the drinking water supplyPotential safety risks and need to restrict public accessThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplan
  • 19. Why install a rainwater tank?The recent droughts along much of the east coast of Australia have highlighted the importance of saving water andlooking at alternative water supplies. This has resulted in the collection of rainfall from roof run-off in urban areasbecoming an established practice for non-drinking uses of water.Several State Governments and local water authorities have offered cash rebates toward the purchase of rainwatertanks provided they were ‘plumbed in’ for toilet flushing and laundry use. The use of rainwater for appropriateinternal purposes provides the greatest savings from the drinking water supply.While recognising that a properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water, NSW Healthstates that in urban areas, ‘the public water supply remains the most reliable source of drinking water for thecommunity’, and supports the use of rainwater tanks in these areas ‘for non-drinking uses such as toilet flushing,washing clothes or in water heating systems, and outdoors for uses such as garden watering, car washing, fillingswimming pools, spas and ornamental ponds, and firefighting.’ (Source: ‘Rainwater Tanks Brochure’, NSW Health,2007).Typically, rainwater tank systems involve a catchment area (roof) that collects and diverts rainwater to a storagetank, prior to its use either in the garden or indoors. The system is usually backed up by the public mains watersupply to ensure the household water supply is not interrupted should rainwater storages run out.Investigations into the role of rainwater tanks as an option for the Lower Hunter Water Plan are focused on:understanding how many rainwater tanks are already installedlooking at how many new rainwater tanks could be installedestimating potential water savings from rainwater tanks under both drought and average climatic conditions.Are rainwater tanks used widely in Australia and overseas?Information from the 2010 Census indicates that 32% of Australian households have a rainwater tank installed,which is up from 24% in 2007 (ABS, 2010).The use of rainwater tanks as a water conservation measure is internationally recognised, due to relatively low setupcosts, flexibility of design, and minimal maintenance requirements.StormwaterCapture Rainwater TanksToilet & LaundryRoof run-offRainwaterTankFixed speedpumpMains waterswitch valveOutdoor useINFORMATION SHEET 3.2Typical configuration of arainwater tank systemintegrated with the mains(drinking) water supply
  • 20. Examples of large scale rainwater use projects include the Fukoka Dome in Japan, which has a 35,000m2catchmentarea and collects rainwater to service 65% of low water quality demand including toilet flushing and irrigation. InLondon, the Millennium Dome meets 10% of all onsite water demands even with storage constraints limitingrainwater collection to a maximum 100 kilolitres/day.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsEasily integrated in new developments but can also be retrofittedto existing housesOngoing benefits rely on the system being properly maintained bythe property ownerModifications to the system at a later date (e.g. leaf guards, firstflush diverters, plumbing) may reduce the efficiency orperformance of systemDuring dry times, tanks may be ‘topped up’ with drinking waterEnvironmental considerationsCollects water quickly during rainNegligible environmental impacts as no major construction involvedReduces stormwater pollution loads released into waterwaysMay reduce benefits to waterway health as less stormwater isavailable for flushing flowsCumulative energy use from widespread use of small pumpsSocial considerationsHelps raise awareness of water conservation measuresActive community involvement in water managementPotential health risks if system is not properly maintainedRequires household behavioural changes and maintenance regimeCan increase household energy bills associated with water pumpingThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplan
  • 21. Water recycling is treating and reusing wastewater and greywater in homes, industry, irrigation and agriculture.Stormwater harvesting and rainwater tanks are discussed in Information Sheets 3.0 - 3.2.While recycled water can be used for a range of purposes, it must first be treated to a level that is considered ‘fit-for-purpose’ - that is, it must be treated to a level appropriate for how it is going to be used. Generally speaking moretreatment will be required to produce higher quality water.Water recycling in New South Wales includes widespread irrigation, large individual industrial water-users, and largenew residential developments in Sydney. Recycled wastewater is currently used in the lower Hunter for industry,irrigation and agriculture.Around 4,000 to 5,000 ML (1 ML = 1 million litres) of recycled water is typically used in the lower Hunter each year.The planned Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme will increase the recycling rate by a further 3,300 ML by 2014. (Forfurther details on this project see Information Sheet 4.4.)Examples of existing uses of recycled water in the lower Hunter include:Industry - Eraring Power Station and the Oceanic Coal washeryIrrigation - local golf courses, a local trotting track and Kurri TAFEAgriculture - a number of farms and the Karuah effluent reuse scheme.The Recycled Water series of fact sheets describes a range of possibleoptions to increase the use of recycled water in the lower Hunter for non-drinking water purposes, rather than using high quality drinking water forsuch uses. These options include:dual reticulation schemes – supplying recycled water through aseparate pipe network for purposes such as garden wateringand toilet flushinggreywater reuse – using household wastewater(excluding toilets) for irrigation and other non-drinkingpurposesdecentralised recycling schemes and sewer mining –involving localised recycling schemesindustrial recycling – potential expansion of industrialreuse.Recycled Water Recycled Water - OverviewLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop,go to haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanINFORMATION SHEET 4.0The National Water Commission has described some of the issues related to recycling wastewater as follows:“The volume and percentage of recycled water are affected by a number of factors, including the availability of potablewater, the size of the utility, its proximity to potential customers (such as irrigators, major industrial customers andrecreational facilities) and government policy. Smaller regional centres often recycle a greater proportion of effluent thanlarger metropolitan areas because discharge to inland rivers and streams often requires higher treatment, making recyclingmore cost-effective; because regional towns often have greater access to willing buyers, such as agricultural businesses; andbecause there are fewer alternative water supply options inland than on the coast”.Purple pipes and taps indicaterecycled waterOptions involving recycling for drinking water are notbeing considered for the Lower Hunter Water Plan.
  • 22. What is dual reticulation?Dual reticulation means having two sets of pipes - one for drinking water and one for recycled water. Recycledwater pipelines can be built at the same time as drinking water mains in new suburbs. This is sometimes referred toas a ‘third pipe’ system – that is, a pipe each for drinking water, sewer and recycled water.Dual reticulation in new developments provides an opportunity for recycled water to be used for non-drinking waterpurposes and contribute to meeting water use targets such as BASIX. Recycled water can be supplied for uses wheredrinking water quality is not required, such as for flushing toilets, outdoor watering and industrial applications.What has been investigated for the lower Hunter?In the lower Hunter, water recycling opportunities have been investigated from each of the 19 wastewatertreatment plants operated by Hunter Water. The studies have considered opportunities to provide recycled waterto service larger new residential developments with highly treated fit-for-purpose recycled water to meet non-drinking water quality demands. The success of such schemes depends on many factors including:level of support from stakeholdersthe distance between houses and the recycled water treatment plantthe size, timing and uptake rates of developmentamount of recycled water available relative to the quantity users needpotential competing demands for recycled water.Are there dual reticulation schemes operating in Australia?Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north-west is Australia’s largest residential water recycling scheme, servicing more than22,000 homes with around 1700 ML (1 ML = 1 million litres) of recycled water each year, reducing the demand fordrinking water from these households by about 40%. Eventually the scheme will serve around 36,000 homes.Mawson Lakes, near Adelaide, operates a dual reticulation scheme which has halved the use of potable water, withestimated savings of around 800 ML of water per year. Recycled water is also supplied to homes with a “third pipe”in the Pimpama-Coomera area on the Gold Coast, the Magenta Shores development on the NSW Central Coast andNewington/Sydney Olympic Park in Sydney.Recycled Water Dual ReticulationINFORMATION SHEET 4.1Dual reticulation pipework
  • 23. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsThe successful uptake of recycled water projects requires supportfrom the communityIt can be hard to find suitable pipe routes in existing built-up urbanareas therefore the most practical case studies usually involve newdevelopmentsEnvironmental considerationsReduces drinking water demand by substituting drinking waterwith recycled water for some household uses, such as flushingtoiletsPotential to support healthier waterways and marineenvironments through reduced discharge of treated effluentHigh energy use and greenhouse gas emissions unless offset byrenewable energyPotential environmental impacts during constructionSocial considerationsNon-weather dependent source ensuring a reliable water supplyA consistent supply for irrigation could improve the look andusability of parks, playing fields and other open spaces withoutusing drinking waterPotential health risks if recycled water is not used as intended orfrom cross-connection with drinking water plumbingLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 24. What is greywater?Greywater is the wastewater generated from washing machines, showers, baths and basins. When used safely,greywater can replace drinking water for watering lawns and gardens. Water from the kitchen can also be reused asgreywater if the correct treatment process is put in place.Greywater does not include water from toilets or urinals - this is sometimes referred to as blackwater.How can greywater be used?There are three ways that greywater can be reused:manual bucketing - small quantities of water are collected from either the washing machine or the shower in abucket for reuse outside on gardens or lawnsgreywater diversion devices - involves installing a diversion device to redirect greywater to the garden or lawnvia an irrigation system below the ground. A licensed plumber is required to install these devices. Local councilapproval is not required as long as the conditions under Section 75A of the Local Government (General)Regulation 2005 are metgreywater treatment systems - enables treated greywater to be used for flushing toilets, in washing machines,and on gardens and lawns. Local council approval is necessary and the system must be installed by a licensedplumber.More information on greywater reuse and links to guidelines for households and more detailed factsheets areavailable at www.waterforlife.nsw.gov.au/recycling/greywater.What investigations into greywater reuse have been undertaken for the lower Hunter?Some case studies for developing the Lower Hunter Water Plan have investigated greywater treatment systems toservice single lot households, as well as 10-dwelling housing and unit clusters in new developments.Recycled Water Greywater ReuseINFORMATION SHEET 4.2Diagram showing a typical clusterscale greywater reuse system
  • 25. Are there greywater reuse schemes operating in Australia?Recycling schemes that collect and treat greywater for reuse are operating around Australia, including at ClovellyHouse in Sydney, the Youth Hostel Association in Katoomba, the K2 Sustainable Housing Project in Melbourne and a389 lot community at Bridgewater Lifestyle Village in Erskine, Mandurah WA.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead time From low to medium, depending on form of reuseImplementation considerationsThe user is generally responsible for capital and operating costsOngoing maintenance is required to ensure consistent water qualityEnvironmental considerations Reduces drinking water demand by substituting drinking water withrecycled water for some household usesPotential for high nutrient and salt concentrations affecting irrigationusePotential for run-off from irrigated grounds promoting algal growth inwaterwaysSocial considerationsActive community involvement in water managementCan require household behavioural changes and maintenance regimeThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplan
  • 26. What is decentralised water recycling?Decentralised water recycling systems involve collecting and treating wastewater so it can be reused at or near thepoint where the wastewater was generated. For example, a small housing development could have its ownwastewater treatment facility which treats and then recycles the wastewater for garden watering and toilet flushing.Greywater reuse (discussed in Information Sheet 4.2) can also be considered to be a form of decentralised recycling.Since all the infrastructure needed for decentralised schemes has to be newly built, these schemes are more suitablefor new developments rather than retrofitting into existing residential areas.What is sewer mining?Sewer mining is the process of tappinginto a wastewater system (generallybefore it reaches the wastewatertreatment plant) and extracting rawsewage, which is then treated and usedas recycled water.The sewage is treated in a small onsitefacility to produce high quality recycledwater for use nearby. Sewer miningplants may involve a combination offiltration, biological, membrane anddisinfection processes. Waste from thetreatment process is generally returnedinto the sewerage system.Sewer mining projects can providerecycled water for new or existingdevelopments. Recycled waterproduced from a sewer miningoperation is commonly used to irrigatesports fields, parks and golf courses. Itcan also be used in some commercial buildings and industrial sites.Are sewer mining and decentralised recycling being considered in the Hunter?Investigations are being undertaken to determine opportunities where:recycled water from sewer mining could be used to irrigate golf courses and sporting fieldsdecentralised recycling could service residential developments for uses other than drinking water, such astoilet flushing, laundry washing, and garden watering.Recycled Water Decentralised Recycling and Sewer Mining SchemesINFORMATION SHEET 4.3
  • 27. Some potential industrial use schemes are also being investigated where recycled water could be used for coolingtowers, dust suppression and other operational processes.Is sewer mining operating elsewhere in Australia?Sewer mining projects to irrigate parks and sports fields are currently operating in Sydney at Mascot Airport, OlympicPark, Pennant Hills Golf Course, Beverley Park Golf Course and Kogarah City Council. Southwell Park in Canberra,Rocks Riverside Park in Brisbane, and the Council House 2 Office Building in Melbourne also use treated wastewaterfor irrigation and other non-drinking uses.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsCould be delivered by different organisations e.g. councils, developers orprivate industryThe successful uptake of recycled water projects requires support fromthe communityHigh upfront capital investment is usually required, often by thecustomer or group developing the scheme, although some industrial andirrigation schemes require less investmentApproval and consultation processes can be lengthyConstruction may disturb existing infrastructure in suburban areasEnvironmental considerationsPotential to support healthier waterways and marine environmentsthrough reduced discharge of treated effluentHigh energy and greenhouse gases, unless offset by renewable energyPotential environmental impacts during constructionSocial considerationsNon-weather dependent source ensuring a reliable water supplyDemonstrates that improving water security is a shared responsibilityA consistent supply for irrigation could improve the look and usability ofparks, playing fields and other open spaces without using drinking waterPotential health risks if recycled water is not used as intended, fromunintended cross-connection with the drinking water supply, or if thesystem is not properly maintainedLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 28. Can recycled water be used by industry?Recycled water is suitable for industrial uses including dust suppression, generating steam, cooling tower water,wash down and other operations. Using recycled water for industry can reduce the demand on drinking watersupplies as well as make use of treated wastewater. The recycled water usage level is also relatively constant, whichmeans the drinking water savings can be predicted more accurately.Some of the benefits of using recycled water for industry include:a number of users may be located close together so infrastructure can be sharedthe level of additional treatment can be tailored to meet the end use (for example, steam generation needsa higher quality than dust suppression)the health risks are generally low for industrial uses.Is industrial water recycling happening in the lower Hunter?In 2011-12, Hunter Water supplied about 1,400 ML (1 ML = 1million litres) of recycled water to industrial customers to useas a substitute for drinking water. The largest industrial usersare currently Eraring Power Station and a coal washery. Thedemand for recycled water can vary with rainfall and changesin user needs, but industrial use often has a more constantdemand than other recycled water uses.Eraring Power Station recycles water from the Dora Creek Wastewater Treatment Works for use in its high pressureboilers, saving nearly 4 ML of drinking water every day. The recycled water is treated by microfiltration and reverseosmosis to remove suspended solids, bacteria, viruses and dissolved salts because very high quality water is requiredfor the boilers. When this scheme started in 1994, Eraring Power Station was the first plant in the world to reclaimwater from sewage and use it as feedwater to high pressure boilers.The Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme will provide 9 ML per day of high quality recycled water to industrial userson Kooragang Island making it the largest recycled water project in the lower Hunter. The project is on track forcompletion by December 2014.The Kooragang scheme involves diverting treated effluent from the existing pipeline from Shortland WastewaterTreatment Works to a new advanced water treatment plant located at Steel River. This plant will use membranemicrofiltration and reverse osmosis to produce high quality recycled water that will be pumped to industrialcustomers on Kooragang Island via a new 8 km pipeline.Are there more opportunities in the Hunter?To support development of the Lower Hunter Water Plan, investigations are underway to identify otheropportunities to supply recycled water to large industrial users in the lower Hunter.For example, some industrial customers on Kooragang Island may wish to expand their business and need morewater, while other large industries may choose to move to this area. Preliminary findings suggest the currentRecycled Water Industrial Use of Recycled WaterINFORMATION SHEET 4.4Eraring Power Station near Lake Macquarie
  • 29. demand for recycled water on Kooragang Island is at least 9 ML per day, with potential for an additional 3 to 5 MLper day by 2018. This may increase as new industries establish in future.Opportunities are also being investigated to ensure enough recycled water can be made available in the right placeto meet future demands, which may involve diverting effluent from other treatment plants.Is water recycling for industry occurring in other parts of the State?One of Australia’s largest industrial water recycling schemes operates in Wollongong at BlueScope Steel, with up to20 ML of recycled water being used each day. The nearby Port Kembla Coal Terminal also uses 1.25 ML of recycledwater each day for dust suppression, wash down and road cleaning operations. Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme inSydney supplies more than 8 ML of recycled water each day to five major industrial customers and a racecourse inthe Rosehill and Smithfield areas.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsUncertain timeframes for industrial growth and customer uptake ofrecycled waterRisk of unused infrastructure if major industrial customers closeIt can be hard to find suitable pipeline routes in existing built-upurban areasSome industrial customers might need assurance drinking waterwill be available when the supply of recycled water is interrupted(e.g. due to operational issues or maintenance down times)Environmental considerationsPotential to support healthier waterways and marineenvironments through reduced discharge of treated effluentEnergy is required for treatment and pumping (this may be able tobe offset with renewable energy)Environmental impacts from construction and operation of thewater treatment plant (e.g. managing waste by-products)Social considerationsEncourages investment in innovation and alternative waterefficiency and recycling technologyDemonstrates that saving water is a shared responsibility betweenHunter Water and industrySome construction impacts on local communityLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 30. Water sources can be divided into surface water, such as in lakes, rivers and dams, and groundwater, which is storedunderground.In the lower Hunter, surface water sources make amajor contribution to the region’s water supplysystem. The amount of water supplied to HunterWater customers from Chichester Dam andGrahamstown Dam varies from year to year. It canrange from 65-75% to over 95%.Since the latest supply-demand balance indicates amajor new water source is not required at this time,the Lower Hunter Water Plan will not consider newsurface water options. Opportunities to access waterfrom existing dams in adjoining regions (called inter-regional transfers) are being investigated.The options described in this series of information sheets include transferring water from:the existing Lostock Dam, with potential options to enlarge the dam – this option would require agreementfrom the owner, State Waterthe Central Coast, involving ‘water banking’ in Mangrove Creek Dam and potential enlargement of the dam –this would require agreement from Gosford City Council, Wyong Shire Council and the Central Coast WaterCorporation.Environmental flows from damsDams and weirs affect the natural flow of water in rivers and streams. To help lessen these impacts, some water isreleased from the storages back into the river downstream of the dam. These releases are called environmentalflows. They help restore the ecology and biodiversity of water dependent ecosystems. Fishways are also built atdams and weirs to allow fish to move up and down stream.Chichester Dam and Seaham Weir (on the Williams River) are licensed by the NSW Office of Water. The waterlicences include conditions called ‘environmental flow rules’ that aim to help protect aquatic health by providing ashare of water for the downstream environment. Changes to environmental flow rules for Chichester Dam and newconditions for Seaham Weir are being investigatedwhich aim to achieve more variability in flows to reflectnatural conditions. These investigations are running inparallel with the development of the Lower HunterWater Plan.Surface Water Surface Water - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 5.0Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanGrahamstown Dam
  • 31. What would an inter-regional transfer related to Lostock Dam involve?Lostock Dam is located on the Paterson River approximately 93 kmnorth-west of Newcastle. The dam, constructed in 1971, has a storagecapacity of 20 GL (1 GL = 1 billion litres) and is managed by StateWater. It supplies water to licensed users on the ‘regulated’ section ofthe Paterson River, which is from the dam to the tidal limit as shown inthe map at right.While the dam was built to supply downstream agriculture, the volumeof water available is not used to its full capacity.Options using Lostock Dam to improve water security for the lowerHunter region are being investigated for both the short and the longerterm.The short term option involves purchasing existing water licences onthe Paterson River. Licences purchased on the water transfer marketcould provide Hunter Water with access to additional water for use aspart of a drought response. The water would need to be treated andtransferred into Hunter Water’s existing water supply network.A longer term option could involve enlarging the existing dam, withpreliminary investigations having considered three storage capacityoptions between 33 GL and 67 GL.Preliminary engineering feasibility studiesindicate that a 65% increase in damcapacity, from 20 GL to 33 GL, could beachieved by installing gates along theexisting spillway crest, along with someminor works along the embankment crest.Options for further enlargements wouldinvolve raising the dam embankment andbuilding a new spillway. The raisedembankment would be of similarconstruction to the existing embankment.Under both the short term and long termscenarios, water would be released fromthe dam and extracted at a locationfurther downstream. If the water wastransferred to Grahamstown Dam it couldSurface Water Inter-regional Transfers: Lostock DamINFORMATION SHEET 5.1Lostock Dam
  • 32. be treated through the existing water treatment plant. Alternatively, a local water treatment plant could be builtwith water pumped into the water supply network near Maitland.Arrangements for environmental flows releases would be determined based on detailed environmentalinvestigations and the regulatory requirements set by relevant government agencies.The Water Sharing Plan for the Paterson Regulated River was gazetted on 1 July 2007 and applies for a period of 10years. This plan specifies how water is shared between water users and the environment.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeDam enlargement options could increase the water supplied, cost and lead timeto a rating of ‘high’Implementation considerationsPreliminary engineering feasibility studies have found that the existingdam embankment should be suitable to incorporate the potential damraising options.Detailed investigations on the existing embankment and foundations,and environmental investigations would be required.Purchase of water licences depends on availability on the watertransfer market.Environmental considerationsMakes use of existing infrastructureInundation of nearby land (if dam were enlarged)Potential impacts on the aquatic environment from altered flowregimesAny new infrastructure may have associated environmental impactsIncreased water pumping requires additional energy and emitsgreenhouse gases unless offset by renewable energySocial ConsiderationsWould increase community and business confidence in regional watersupply securityConstruction impacts on the local communityLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 33. What would an inter-regional transfer with the Central Coast involve?The lower Hunter and Central Coast water supply systems are connected via a pipeline linking reservoirs located atKanwal and Morisset. The existing link can transfer up to 33 ML per day (1 ML = 1 million litres) to the Central Coastsystem. Due to operational and capacity limitations of the infrastructure, the return transfer rate to the Huntersystem is currently an average of 13 ML per day.The pipeline link between the two regions was used to supply water from the lower Hunter to the Central Coastwhen their storages reached very low levels during the last drought. The price for transferred water was determinedby the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).The Central Coast’s water supplies are now more secure with construction of the ‘Mardi-Mangrove Link’ - comprisinga 21 km pipeline linking Mardi and Mangrove Creek Dams, together with two new pumping stations. This allowsadditional water to be pumped from the Wyong River and Ourimbah Creek during wet periods and transferred toMangrove Creek Dam.In conjunction with Wyong Shire Council, Gosford City Council and the Central Coast Water Corporation,investigations have begun into the feasibility of supplying water from the lower Hunter network to the Central Coastnetwork during normal conditions, and ‘banking’ an equivalent amount of water in Mangrove Creek Dam. The watercould then be returned (‘withdrawn from the bank’) when storages in the lower Hunter are low.A water banking arrangement would aim to optimise regional water storages and provide greater water security toboth regions, particularly during drought.Surface Water Inter-regional Transfers: Central CoastINFORMATION SHEET 5.2Map showing the linkbetween the lower Hunterand Central Coast watersupply networks.It also shows the Mardi-Mangrove link.
  • 34. Mangrove Creek Dam is located on MangroveCreek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River,approximately 50 km north-west of Gosford.The dam was built in 1981 and has a storagecapacity of 190 GL (1 GL = 1 billion litres).When the dam was built, allowance wasmade for future enlargement.Investigations are underway - in consultation with Gosford City Council, Wyong Shire Council and the Central CoastWater Corporation - to consider options to enlarge Mangrove Creek Dam to provide additional storage capacity for‘banking’ of water. Storage capacity options up to around 270 GL will be investigated. The feasibility of increasing thetransfer capacity of the lower Hunter and Central Coast water supply networks will also be investigated.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.Water UNDER INVESTIGATIONCost UNDER INVESTIGATIONLead time UNDER INVESTIGATIONImplementation considerationsIf investigations indicate this option is feasible, agreement would needto be reached between the water supply authorities regarding theconditions for water transfers and banking, and financialconsiderations.Environmental considerationsMakes use of some existing infrastructureInundation of nearby land (if the dam was enlarged)Increased water pumping requires additional energy and emitsgreenhouse gases unless offset by renewable energyAny new infrastructure may have associated environmental impactsSocial considerationsWould increase community and business confidence in regional watersupply securityInterconnectivity of the network increases system flexibility andsecurity for the lower Hunter and Central CoastConstruction impacts on the local communityBoth the lower Hunter and Central Coast communities may beconcerned about how water and costs would be shared fairlyLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.Mangrove Creek Dam
  • 35. Water sources can be broadly classified as either surface water, such as lakes, rivers and dams, or groundwater,which is stored underground.Groundwater can be found at various depths from at or near the surface, to hundreds of metres below ground. It isstored in sands, soils, and in cracks and crevices between rocks. Groundwater can be accessed using spear points orbores and used for town water supplies or irrigation.In the lower Hunter, groundwater sources are an important part of the region’s water supply system. The amount ofwater supplied to Hunter Water customers from groundwater at Tomago and Tomaree varies from year to year. Itcan range from less than 5% up to 30-35%.In developing the Lower Hunter Water Plan, new groundwater sources that could contribute to the region’s futurewater supply needs are being investigated in consultation with key stakeholders including the NSW Office of Water.The groundwater options currently being considered are described in this series of fact sheets and include accessing:deeper water stored in the Tomago aquifer (as a potential emergency measure)other groundwater sources in the lower Hunter, such as the ’Hunter Alluvial’ source near the junction of theHunter and Paterson Riversgroundwater that collects in mines.Groundwater Groundwater - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 6.0Lower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanAn existing bore used to pump water from the Tomago Sandbeds
  • 36. Can more water be sourced from the Tomago Sandbeds?The Tomago Sandbeds extend approximately 25 kmnorth-east from Tomago to Lemon Tree Passage,and lie parallel to the coast between Newcastle andPort Stephens, as shown in the map.The amount of drinking water provided to HunterWater customers that is sourced from the TomagoSandbeds can vary from year to year, up to amaximum of around 20-25%.This aquifer can store approximately 100,000 ML(1 ML = 1 million litres) of water above sea level.It is refilled from rain that falls directly on the sand surface.At present, a network of bores andvacuum stations operated by HunterWater can access approximately60,000 ML of ‘active storage’, as shownin the figure below.The amount of water that HunterWater can extract from the sandbeds islicensed by the NSW Office of Water.Hunter Water must stop pumpingwhen the water drops to a set level.This is important to minimise impactson the ecosystems that depend ongroundwater and so that a reliable,good quality supply is maintained.Hunter Water has estimated there is afurther 40,000 ML of groundwaterbelow the current level where pumpingmust stop, and has investigated thepotential to extract up to 25,000 ML ofthis groundwater.The NSW Office of Water would only permit access to this ‘deep Tomago’ water if Hunter Water can demonstrate,through scientific studies, that there would not be any adverse impacts on the environment. Investigations havebegun but results are unlikely to be available before the Lower Hunter Water Plan is developed.Groundwater Deep Tomago GroundwaterINFORMATION SHEET 6.1Map showing the location of the Tomago SandbedsSchematic cross-section of the Tomago Sandbeds
  • 37. If approved as an emergency drought response, the water available from the deep storage would only be availablefor a limited period – estimated at around 18 months if water was pumped at 45 ML per day. After this time,pumping would have to stop until the groundwater was naturally refilled by rainfall.If permitted, the deep storage could be accessed by converting existing pumping stations, building new bores or re-establishing bores that are no longer in use, and upgrading the power supply. Water accessed from lower depthsmay have high levels of manganese, iron and other metals, so the water may need additional treatment before beingtreated at the existing Grahamstown water treatment plant.Fresh groundwater in the sandbeds sits above sea level. Another important issue with this option, is to ensurepumping stops before reaching the level where there would be a risk of salt water entering the fresh groundwaterresource and making it unsuitable for future use. The potential for sea level rise due to climate change would alsoneed to be considered.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementation considerationsAccess to the deep storage is not permitted under the existing waterlicenceThe regulatory requirements may be reconsidered in a droughtemergencyEnvironmental considerationsMay adversely impact on ecosystems that depend on groundwater(Tomago Sandbeds are located in the Tilligerry State ConservationArea)Pumping must be carefully controlled to avoid the potential forsaltwater intrusion into the freshwater aquiferSocial considerationsMay be an emergency option to extend water supplies in a severedroughtMinimal disruption to the community as works would beundertaken on land that is closed to the publicLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 38. Are other groundwater sources available?Groundwater sources are already an important part of the lower Hunter’s water supply, with significantgroundwater sources at Tomago and Tomaree.To support development of the Lower Hunter Water Plan, the potential for other groundwater sources in the lowerHunter (or nearby) has been investigated. One potential source is known as the ’Hunter Alluvial’ source, which refersto groundwater near the junction of the Hunter and Paterson Rivers in the Morpeth – Bolwarra area.Initial investigations will test the water quality and explore the size, depth and location of the groundwater source.These studies are the first steps in assessing the feasibility of this as a potential additional source for the lowerHunter which might be accessed in a drought. These investigations are planned for mid 2013.If investigations indicate this may be a feasible source of water, this option would most likely involve installing anumber of extraction bores, pumps and a pipeline delivering water to a temporary treatment plant and into the localwater supply network.Groundwater Hunter Alluvial Groundwater SourceINFORMATION SHEET 6.2Schematic cross-section of Hunter alluvial showing potential aquifers at different depths
  • 39. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.Water UNDER INVESTIGATIONCost UNDER INVESTIGATIONLead time UNDER INVESTIGATIONImplementation considerationsFurther information is needed on the quality and quantity ofgroundwater to assess the feasibility of this potential optionThis groundwater source is not part of an existing Water SharingPlan, and there is limited information on any existing usersEnvironmental considerationsExtraction from deep aquifers is likely to have less environmentalimpact compared with shallow aquifers because there would beless chance of disturbing acid sulfate soils or impacting on wetlandsConstruction impacts are anticipated to be minor as infrastructurewould be located in previously disturbed locationsDeep aquifers may have low recharge rates and other users may beimpacted due to slow replenishmentSocial considerationsWater would need to be shared with existing stock, domestic andirrigation users in the areaLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 40. How can mine water help the region’s water supply?The Hunter region has a long history of coal mining, with many underground and open cut mines. As part of themining process, voids are formed, which can fill with water.Some of the mine workings are below the water table, and water has to be removed to allow safe operation of themine. The water may come from groundwater or from rainfall or runoff that collects in the mine.Mine water is generally used by the mine for operational needs such as dust suppression, drilling, or coal washing.Some mines in the lower Hunter have more water than they need. The quality of the mine water – including salt,acidity and mineral content – would influence the treatment needed before it could be used, recycled or dischargedto the environment under a licence from the Environment Protection Authority.Investigations into the potential to use groundwater from mines as a water supply option for the Lower HunterWater Plan are at a very early stage. More information is needed regarding the quantity and quality of groundwateravailable from operating or abandoned mines to determine if this is a feasible option for the region.It is important to note that any water used for drinking water supplies must meet the Australian Drinking WaterGuidelines.Is mine water used in Australia for consumption?In 2006, investigations for the Metropolitan Water Plan studied the potential sources of groundwater from minesnear Sydney as potential emergency drought supplies. Abandoned mines that were flooded with water as well asoperating mines were investigated.A recent report prepared for the National Water Commission states that ‘…there are several cases where excessmine water has been, or is proposed to be, made available to supply towns, agriculture or industry independent ofthe mine… One example is Clarence Colliery near Lithgow, NSW, where part of the mine’s excess incidental water issupplied to Lithgow for town water, and part is treated and discharged into a river.’(Source: Integrating the mining sector into water planning and entitlements regimes, NWC, Waterlines Report Series No 77, March 2012)Groundwater Mine WaterINFORMATION SHEET 6.3
  • 41. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.Water UNDER INVESTIGATIONCost UNDER INVESTIGATIONLead time UNDER INVESTIGATIONImplementation considerationsIf water was drawn from a working mine, the ongoing availability ofwater if the mine was sold or shut down would need to beaddressedIf mine water was found to be a feasible option, a pilot plant mighthelp to demonstrate safety and reliabilityGeological stability may be an issue for the concept of usingabandoned mine workings to store waterEnvironmental considerationsSurplus mine water could be treated and used as a resource insteadof discharged to the environmentConstruction impacts may be minimal if infrastructure is located inpreviously disturbed locationsMine water might contribute to streamflow, either directly orthrough groundwaterSocial considerationsPotential community concerns about water qualityLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 42. What is desalination?Desalination is the removal of salt and other minerals from saline water (such as seawater) to produce fresh waterfor drinking water supply or industrial uses needing high quality water.Thermal desalination is achieved by boiling the salt water and condensing the steam to produce fresh water (ie, adistillation process). Reverse osmosis uses semi-permeable membranes and pressure to separate salts from water.The salt water is moved across membranes that block salts and other particles so that only water can pass through.A by-product is a concentrated salt solution called brine that needs to be disposed of. Reverse osmosis generallyrequires less energy than thermal desalination. The reverse osmosis process is represented in the diagram below.Desalination provides a source of drinking water that does not rely on rain. It does require a significant amount ofenergy to operate, although renewable energy can be used to offset this in some cases. Desalination options beinginvestigated for the lower Hunter include:small scale temporary units to supplement water supplies during a drought“readiness” activities for a larger scale permanent desalination plant for emergency development in adrought.Desalination Desalination - OverviewINFORMATION SHEET 7.0Desalination byreverse osmosisSchematic showing reverseosmosis process
  • 43. What is temporary desalination?Temporary desalination can be used to supplement water supplies on a small scale during an extended drought. Thefacilities can be located on land or sea and can be constructed using modular container systems.The capacities of portable plants vary. Individual land-based, container style plants of 1 - 3 ML per day (1 ML = 1million litres) are available and have been used in the Hunter for wastewater and mine water applications. Anumber of these modular containers can be connected together to provide increased total production capacities.For example, a portable modular unit providing 20 ML per day has been used in Limassol, Cyprus (pictured below).Ship based plants are either specially built or converted tankers or barges. Existing barges in Saudi Arabia havereported capacities of 25 ML per day. Companies in Israel and America are marketing ship platforms with capacitiesof 50 - 100 ML per day.Temporary desalination plants require additional infrastructure. For land-based plants, this would include rawsaltwater intakes from the ocean or estuary (which are different to intakes for permanent desalination e.g. throughopen water pipes or buried sand dunes inlets), outlets for brine discharge, connection pipes to the water distributionsystem, and possibly power upgrades. Ship-based systems are typically self-contained with on-board generators andan inlet and outlet for brine disposal. They would require a connection pipe to the water distribution system and asafe mooring point.As the portable facilities are relatively small, they could be added to the water supply network at multiple coastallocations across the lower Hunter on a temporary basis during a drought. However, they could only produce enoughwater to meet a small fraction of the region’s water supply needs.The plants could be located in open space areas such as parklands and car parks adjoining coastal and estuarineareas, where they would connect to the local water network. The plants would be temporary and would be removedwhen no longer needed, although some infrastructure such as pipelines may remain.Are there any temporary desalination plants in Australia?Small modular desalination units have beenused widely across Australia for industrialpurposes, for example in mining andwastewater applications. During the mostrecent drought, the Central Coast investigatedthe installation of several portable units,however they were not required as droughtconditions ceased.Ship based plants have not been used inAustralia but were investigated by otherwater utilities during the recent drought.Desalination Temporary Desalination FacilitiesINFORMATION SHEET 7.1A modular desalination plant
  • 44. The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeA long drought and/or larger number of portable desalination units couldincrease the water supplied to a rating of ‘medium’Implementation considerationsPhysical capacity limitations in the distribution system will restrictthe population the plants could serviceThe site must have access to salt water, sufficient power supply,and access to the water supply distribution systemIntake water quality issues, particularly in lakes and estuarieswhere flushing during drought periods may be poorConstructing pipes in urbanised areas may be difficult with risk ofslow construction timelinesAny temporary, above ground pipelines would have a risk ofaccidental damage or vandalismPollution discharge licences would be required for brine disposalEnvironmental considerationsPotential environmental impacts would be temporary rather thanongoingPotential for brine release to impact on the aquatic environmentPotential environmental impacts from plant constructionPlant operation requires energy and emits greenhouse gasesunless offset by renewable energyLiquid wastewater from pre-treatment processesStorage of hazardous chemicalsSocial ConsiderationsNon-weather dependant sourcePotential social impacts would be temporary rather than ongoingVisual amenity impacts, depending on sitePotential high disruption impacts as plants are noisy and mayrequire 24 hour operationThere may be road and access disruptions as a result ofconstruction and pipework installationDisruption to beaches or loss of access to open spaces, dependingon location of site(s) and temporary pipelinesLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, go tohaveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.
  • 45. What does a permanent desalination facility involve?A desalination plant can be designed to operate continuously to supply drinking water (known as a “base load”plant). This is one way to diversify a region’s water supply sources so the system is less vulnerable to drought. Theplan is not considering this option.However, a permanent emergency plant designed to provide water during a drought could be built in stages as thedrought progresses, which means a smaller plant would be in place if drought conditions ended.A potential modular approach with construction in stages could consist of three units, each supplying 40ML per day.This could provide the following benefits during drought:One module (40 ML per day) could slow down the rate of decline of the existing water storagesTwo modules (totalling 80 ML per day) could work in combination with other water sources to provideenough water to meet all essential water needs, assuming demand was reduced by restrictions and waterefficiencyThree modules (120 ML per day) could provide enough water to meet essential (very restricted) needswithout requiring water from any additional sources. In the case of drought, where all other storages weredepleted, this would provide a secure source of water that does not rely on rain.How could we plan ahead with ‘readiness activities’?Building an emergency desalination plant typically needs a lead time of more than five years to allow for siteselection, environmental and other investigations, planning approvals, design and construction. To reduce this leadtime, a series of ‘readiness activities’ could be completed to speed up construction should there be a severe drought.‘Readiness activities’ would include actions such as selecting a suitable site, undertaking detailed environmental andengineering studies, and obtaining planning approval. These activities could be completed in the short-term andwould mean that the commitment to construction would not need to be triggered until later in a drought.A permanent facility in the lower Hunter would have to be located close to the coast to access seawater. Furtherenvironmental and engineering investigations would be needed to select a suitable site, probably between Belmontin the south, and Williamtown in the north. Access to sufficient power supplies is also a key consideration.Another option to consider is whether there are potential opportunities for a desalination plant that could servemore than one region.The ‘readiness’ approach was put in place on theCentral Coast during the last drought, with planningapproval for a desalination plant at Toukley thatcould produce 20 ML per day. The plant will not bebuilt unless required due to a severe drought.Desalination Emergency Desalination FacilityINFORMATION SHEET 7.2Reverse osmosis technology extracts salt from seawater
  • 46. Are there permanent desalination facilities in Australia?Desalination was one of the major initiatives of the 2006 Metropolitan Water Plan for Sydney. Construction of theplant at Kurnell was triggered in early 2007 during the deepening drought when dam levels were nearing 30% . Thelead time for building the plant was considerably reduced by having completed a series of ‘readiness activities’.Sydney’s desalination plant can provide up to 15% of Sydney’s water needs, or 90 billion litres a year. The seawateris sourced from the Tasman Sea. With dam levels recovered after the drought, the plant is currently shut down.Desalination facilities are also in place or under construction in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.There are over 3,500 land-based desalination plants around the world.The table below gives a general indication of the amount of water supplied or saved, cost, lead times andenvironmental and social considerations (positive or negative) for this option.LOW MEDIUM HIGHWaterCostLead timeImplementing ‘readiness activities’ in the near term would reduce the lead timein a droughtImplementation considerationsDesalination would provide flexibility for drought conditions bydiversifying the region’s water sources.Significant cost for ‘readiness activities’ to reduce potential lead timefor construction, rather like investing in insurance.The site must have access to salt water, sufficient power supply, andaccess to the water supply distribution systemPollution discharge licences would also be required for brine disposalEnvironmental considerationsPotential for brine release to impact on the aquatic environmentPlant operation requires energy and emits greenhouse gases unlessoffset by renewable energyMajor infrastructure project with construction disturbance in theimmediate plant site and supporting infrastructure such as roads,power and pipelines (generally underground)Social considerationsWould increase community and business confidence in regionalwater supply securityEmployment opportunities to construct and operate the plantConstruction impacts on local communityVisual amenity impacts, depending on siteLower Hunter Water Plan Project TeamPO Box 2297DANGAR NSW 2309PH 1800 503 866 FX 4908 4954To have your say online or to register for a workshop, goto haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/lowerhunterwaterplanThis series of fact sheets is designed to summariseinformation from investigations to April 2013.The environmental and social considerationsare provided as examples only and are notintended to be a comprehensive list.

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