Aurora Recycled Water Facility

Yarra Valley Water has launched its Recycled Water Community Assets Program, designed to offset drinking water used in construction by enabling companies to fund new recycled water infrastructure. 

Yarra Valley Water will partner with major infrastructure delivery organisations to reduce the impact of using drinking water in construction through the water offset program.  

A pilot is underway with a level crossing removal project in Melbourne’s east. 

Water is essential to the delivery of major infrastructure projects. The Recycled Water Community Assets Program provides an offset scheme for major projects that do not have access to recycled water during construction. 

The program offsets drinking water used in construction through a scheme that enables construction organisations to fund new recycled water infrastructure elsewhere.  

The recycled water asset is designed to balance the drinking water footprint with a sustainable alternative supply and provide an ongoing benefit for communities. 

Under the program, a level crossing removal project will provide 300m of new recycled water main to supply Barngeong Reserve, Croydon. This will offset the drinking water used during the construction phase of removing the level crossing and provide a new, ongoing supply of recycled water to irrigate local sports fields. 

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said the recycled water offset program is one of the first of its kind in Australia. 

“Water plays a vital role in construction, as it’s used for dust suppression and irrigation for landscaping. 

“While many businesses use recycled water from nearby hydrants and fill points for construction, projects that are more than10km away from a recycled water source face challenges. The logistics of transporting water often outweigh the benefits of purchasing recycled water due to increased emissions and costs. 

“We’re offering a way to save drinking water by partnering with large infrastructure projects to invest in recycled water assets. This not only balances out the drinking water used during construction work, but also means community spaces like sports fields can be irrigated with a sustainable water supply on an ongoing basis,” Mr McCafferty said. 

Recycled water is produced from the treatment of wastewater. It provides a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to drinking water to water gardens and green spaces, wash clothes and cars, and flush toilets. 

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Kylie Spears, said the program is expected to save Council 3 million litres of drinking water per year on an ongoing basis.

“Recycled water keeps our green public spaces looking wonderful and lush. While it’s not suited for drinking, it’s perfect for irrigating grass, and trees in areas such as parks, reserves, sporting facilities and golf courses,” Ms Spears said.

“This project benefits Maroondah City Council and the local community as it provides a more reliable and sustainable source of irrigation water. It has been great to partner with Yarra Valley Water on this project, providing historical water use data and ensuring Council’s relevant infrastructure is compliant for recycled water use.”

Level Crossing Removal Authority Project Program Director, Steve Brown, said the water offset program reflected the level crossing removal project’s commitment to environmental values. 

“Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do. This innovative approach used throughout construction of level crossing removal projects allows us to reduce our water usage impacts,” Mr Brown said.  

“Through this partnership, we’re not only helping to offset water use for the Maroondah community, but we’re also setting a water-saving precedent for future large-scale projects in the community.” 

Featured image: Aurora Recycled Water Facility. Courtesy of Yarra Valley Water. 

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