By 2015, recycled water will be the main type of water supplied to most of the greater Sydney region’s largest industrial operations including BlueScope Steel, Orica, Shell Refining, Visy Paper, Marubeni Power and LyondellBasell Industries.
There are, however, some limitations on the use of recycled water in industry as it is not suitable for some processes in the manufacture of food and drinks.
The overall amount of water used by business and industry is 19 percent of the water supplied in the Sydney region. Households use about 73 percent, while government, farming and other types of properties use the rest.
Industries are nevertheless making an increasingly important contribution to the region’s water savings through recycled water projects and water efficiency programs.
Over seven billion litres of high quality recycled water a year is delivered to industry from Sydney Water's Wollongong Sewage Treatment Plant. This is one of Australia's largest industrial recycling schemes.
The NSW Government has identified a number of projects to increase the use of recycled water by industry. The first of these is an innovative recycled water scheme in the Smithfield and Camellia areas in Sydney’s west. The Rosehill-Camellia Recycled Water Scheme, which will be delivered in partnership with the private sector, and has the potential to save about 4.3 billion litres of drinking water a year.
A challenge to the efficiency of recycling is the cost of transferring water around the system. Water is heavy and cheap to move with gravity, but expensive when pumping is required. Recycled water projects are most viable if customers are located close to the source of the effluent, such as a sewage treatment plant or sewer main. The NSW Government will continue to encourage projects to supply recycled water to industry where a ready supply source is located nearby or on-site.
To find out more visit the Sydney Water website or view Chapter 4 of the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan (PDF).