Paving the way - Recycled water for Ballina Shire

Posted by: Ballina Shire Council on 11/10/2017
Ballina Shire Council is located in the beautiful Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Among its waterways are world-class beaches and the scenic Richmond River.

Back in the 2000s Council made a commitment to reduce effluent into these waterways and meet future water demands and commenced plans to develop an innovative new water service – recycled water.

In 2004, a joint collaboration between Ballina Shire Council and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) saw the provision of dual reticulation developments in Ballina Shire Council. This meant most future greenfield residential developments in the shire must include infrastructure for the delivery of recycled water.

This $85-million investment in the Ballina-Lennox Head Recycled Water Master Plan came to fruition in 2016, when Ballina Shire Council turned on their recycled water service to residents in Lennox Head - the first of its kind in regional NSW.

The drought-proof water service is now growing and in October 2017 another 900 properties within Ferngrove, River Oaks, Ballina Heights housing estates and North Ballina started receiving the service.

“Recycled water is safe and crystal clear, cheaper to use and, as our shire continues to grow, key to meeting future water demands,” said Manager Water and Wastewater, Ms Bridget Walker.

“Traditionally, water is used only once, treated and discharged into local waterways. But with recycled water the valuable resource can be reused multiple times, which reduces demands on our precious drinking water,” Ms Walker added.

Recycled water undergoes a rigorous treatment process before being supplied to dual reticulated homes through purple coloured pipes and taps.

It can be used for irrigating gardens, washing pets, flushing toilets and the cold washing machine tap, but cannot be used for drinking, cooking or bathing.

Its usage is also saving hundreds of megalitres of precious drinking water annually. In the last financial year, residents, businesses and farmers used 416 megalitres of recycled water.

“The great thing is this saving will continue to grow each year as new homes are built, and in the coming years recycled water will ultimately supply some 7,200 homes across the shire,” said Ms Walker.

To find out more about this innovative water scheme, visit

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