How are we tracking?

Indicator: Total recycled water supplied

Under its 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan, the NSW Government has set a target of 70 billion litres a year of recycled water for industry, irrigation and residential use by 2015. To support this target, we work with relevant government agencies to deliver recycling schemes that are economically, technically and environmentally sustainable.

We operate 18 recycled water schemes and provide recycled water for use at wastewater treatment plants.

In 2011–12, we recycled 45,929 million litres of wastewater, about eight per cent of total wastewater we collected. This is three per cent less than the recycled water we produced last year despite the Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme coming online in October 2011 and producing 2,156 million litres.

The slight decrease in recycled water produced this year was due to wet weather. Many schemes that use recycled water for irrigation required less, and the St Marys Water Recycling Plant operated in reduced flow mode for almost three months. The St Marys plant still produced 13,362 million litres of highly treated recycled water, which we released into the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system to help maintain river health and conserve drinking water.

The residential recycled water scheme at Rouse Hill and the Wollongong scheme also continued to produce a large amount of recycled water. We have also included, in the 2011–12 recycling figures, releases of 4,632 million litres for agricultural use from the West Camden, St Marys and Quakers Hill water recycling plants.

In 2011–12, our recycling projects saved about 13,000 million litres of drinking water.

For more information on recycling, see our Water Efficiency Report 2011–12.

Indicator: The amount of water leakage from the drinking water supply system

We use the water balance method as set out in the National Water Commission’s reporting handbook to estimate losses (leakage) from our water distribution systems. The water balance is the amount our filtration plants produce less all known and estimated end uses, with the remainder deemed to be leakage. This method has an uncertainty band of ± 25% (95% confidence limit), which can result in changes from year to year. It includes adjustments for uses such as fire fighting, system maintenance and losses due to illegal water use.

Our average leakage from the drinking water network for 2011–12 was 115 million litres a day (42.2 billion litres a year). This meets our Operating Licence 2010–15 requirement that leakage not exceed 105 million litres a day, ±16 million litres a day.

Figure 8 – Water leakage and Operating Licence target 2000–01 to 2011–12

Image of Figure 8 – Water leakage and Operating Licence target 2000–01