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Lake Mac and Hunter Water announce $6 million recycled water plan

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Six million dollars is being invested into keeping Lake Macquarie parks and sporting fields drought-proof thanks to a recycled water plan announced on Thursday.

The investment, a collaboration between Hunter Water and Lake Macquarie City Council, will see increased recycled water capacity at the Edgeworth Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW), available for both Jack McLaughlan Oval in Edgeworth and the Pasterfield Sports Complex in Cameron Park.

The scheme has already seen increased recycled water capacity at The Edgeworth WWTW supplying recycled water to Waratah Golf Course for more than 25 years, as well as to Oceanic Coal Washery prior to its closure.

The expansion will prepare the Edgeworth plant to deliver an additional 20 megalitres of recycled water per year for public open space irrigation.

The project follows water efficiency improvements undertaken between Hunter Water and LMCC during previous droughts in 2019 and 2020.

Hunter Water managing director Darren Cleary said recycled water was a safe option that conserves valuable drinking water by matching alternative water sources with appropriate water uses.

“Our community increasingly expects Hunter Water to improve our region’s water resilience and sustainability and that’s the real benefit from this project: improving the resilience of beautiful community assets,” he said.

“Our community has told us they want to see more water recycling and they are willing to pay to support this. 

“The Edgeworth scheme will replace drinking water to ensure these community assets continue to be in good condition.”

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said using recycled water would help ensure playing fields were available to be used all year round, even in the event of a future drought.

“Lake Macquarie City Council is committed to creating a sustainable future for our city and this long-term water efficiency initiative will reduce the use of drinking water for irrigation in favour of alternative water sources,” she said.

“It will also ensure we can keep our sporting fields, gardens and other public spaces green, which is important for the amenity and wellbeing of our community.”

Hunter Water anticipates starting construction late 2023 with recycled water supplied from the scheme in early 2024.

The Lake Macquarie recycled water irrigation project builds on the March announcement that Hunter Water, the Newcastle Jockey Club and City of Newcastle signed a three-party Memorandum of Understanding to further explore and investigate capturing stormwater to irrigate the Newcastle Racecourse and nearby sporting fields.

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