Work is underway to drought-proof one of Queensland’s most popular racecourses, with infrastructure upgrades enabling Urban Utilities to increase its supply of recycled water.

Plant upgrades have allowed Urban Utilities to boost the volume of recycled water supplied to the Kilcoy Race Club by around 25 per cent over the past 18 months.

It comes at a crucial time as the south-east continues to experience drought conditions and the racing industry works to recover from the financial blow dealt by COVID-19.

Urban Utilities spokesperson, Anna Hartley, said an average of about 330,000 litres of recycled water was now being diverted to the club every day.

“Recycled water is wastewater that has been highly treated so it can be re-used on golf courses, sporting fields or, in this case, to keep the historic Kilcoy racecourse lush and green,” Ms Hartley said.

“It’s a win/win because it delivers benefits for our community and the environment by protecting precious drinking water supplies and reducing nutrients in local waterways.”

Kilcoy Race Club’s track is irrigated with treated recycled water which is nutrient-rich and makes for excellent fertiliser.

Veteran Kilcoy Race Club President, Con Searle, said the partnership with Urban Utilities to supply recycled water is helping cut costs at a crucial time.

“If we didn’t have the recycled water, especially after being hit hard by COVID-19 and the drought, we would not have a track the high standard it is today, there is no way in the world,” Mr Searle said.

“Our track has flourished and turnover has skyrocketed. Every time we have a major race meeting the town is booked out, so it benefits the whole Somerset region and boosts the local economy.”

Ms Hartley said Kilcoy was one of several communities across the south-east enjoying the benefits of using recycled water.  

“Urban Utilities doesn’t just supply fresh, clean tap water to 1.5 million people in the south-east, we also supply around 6,000 megalitres of recycled water to customers every year,” Ms Hartley said.

“That’s over six Olympic swimming pools every day.”

Mr Searle said he planned to hand over the reins as club president in years to come and that using recycled water was a legacy he was happy to leave behind.

“Urban Utilities’ recycled water has put Kilcoy on the map, it’s as simple as that and it will help us ensure the club continues to prosper for years to come,” Mr Searle said.

Recycled water is also used to irrigate farms and nurseries as well as for activities such as construction and dust suppression.

Urban Utilities recycled 70 per cent of all effluent at its regional wastewater treatment plants in 2019/20, up from 55 per cent in 2018/19.

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