Households in Greater Sydney use around 73 percent of our water. Replacing recycled water for things like toilet flushing, water gardens and car washing, could really help to reduce demand for drinking water.
You can help to play your part in securing Sydney's water supply by using greywater to water your garden. Greywater is the wastewater from our showers, baths, spas, hand basins, laundry tubs and washing machines. It can be directly diverted to a garden, with consideration for the soaps and other cleaning agents used in the home, or treated and reused.
Recycled water in Sydney: 70 billion litres a year by 2015
The NSW Government has made it easier for individual homes to take up water recycling by simplifying the approval process for household greywater diversion systems. To read about the process, download a copy of the NSW Guidelines for Greywater Reuse in Sewered, Single Household Residential Premises (PDF).
Currently, the best opportunity for large scale water recycling is in new suburbs where recycled water pipelines can be constructed at the same time as drinking water mains. This is often referred to as dual reticulation, meaning two sets of pipes - one for drinking water and one for recycled water.
Already Sydney has Australia’s largest residential recycled scheme at Rouse Hill, In addition to this, homes are also being serviced by dual reticulation at Homebush Bay and two new schemes are under construction at Hoxton Park and Ropes Crossing at St Marys.
While progress has been solid, challenges also exist in recycling. Providing recycled water to businesses and households in the established highly urbanised areas of Sydney can be complex, energy intensive and expensive. Most of Sydney's major recycling opportunities are concentrated in the new growth areas or at large industrial sites.
To find out more visit the Sydney Water website or view Chapter 4 of the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan (PDF).