Southern Australian State Plans to Save Additional 5 Billion of Liters of Water

Australia tackles water scarcity in New South Wales by funding projects such as water recycling programs for irrigation.

A golf course located near Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia.

Photo © J. Carl Ganter

This golf course is located near Broken Hill, an isolated mining town in New South Wales, Australia. This course, like others in the area, relies on irrigation to meet water demands.

Six infrastructure projects are estimated to save an additional five billion liters of water a year in Australia’s New South Wales state, which faces severe drought in conjunction with its water demand, according to the Government Monitor.

NSW is the country’s most populous state and withdraws the most from the Murray River– which provides 70 percent of the country’s total water use, according to conservation group, Save the Murray. The river is a lifeline for southern Australia, providing drinking water to 1.5 million households across three states: NSW as well as Victoria and South Australia. Meanwhile, NSW, which currently uses 27 billion liters of recycled water for industrial, agricultural and household uses, is planning to recycle more than 70 billion liters of water in five years and 100 billion liters by 2032. Sydney, the state’s capital city, uses almost four billion liters of reclaimed water per year for irrigating farms, golf courses, sports grounds, parks and a racecourse.

“Urban water supplies are under increasing pressure from changing population patterns and the emerging effects of climate change,” Australia’s minister for Water, Penny Wong, told GM.

One of the newly implemented programs, the Water Recycling and Reuse Program, will use recycled water for irrigation, which withdraws the most water in NSW as well as of southern Australia

The irrigation project will be allocated roughly $US6 million of the total $US17 million granted by the government to enhance water security.

Other undertakings planned by the Australian government include storm water capture and reuse schemes, increased capacity for water recycling plants, potable water reduction, and extension of recycled water pipelines. Projects will be funded by the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns as well as the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan.

“We know we have to use water more wisely,” Wong said, “These projects are all about assisting local communities and businesses secure water supplies in a future with less water.”

Sources:The Government Monitor,The Australian Coordinator for Recycled Water, Australian Government Department of Environment, Discover Murray, Save the Murray

Read more about Southern Australia’s battle against water scarcity on Circle of Blue.

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