Perth’s rates of aquifer recharge are set to double after a massive boost from the WA Government for recycled water projects.
The government will invest $262 million to expand Water Corporation’s Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plant. Under the expansion, the plant’s capacity will increase from 14 billion litres a year to 28 billion litres, with treated wastewater used to recharge the Gnangara aquifer system under the Groundwater Replenishment Scheme.
Half of Perth’s drinking water supply is sourced from aquifers. WA Minister for Water Dave Kelly said the expansion is a crucial step in safeguarding Perth’s drinking water sources in future.
“The southwest of our state continues to be impacted by climate change, and groundwater replenishment is a key project in the Water Corporation’s plans to secure water supplies in response to the drying climate,” Kelly said.
“When the expansion is complete, the Groundwater Replenishment Scheme in Craigie will have the capacity to recharge up to 28 billion litres of water each year – enough to supply up to 100,000 Perth households.”
Aside from safeguarding the state’s water supply, Kelly said the expansion project will also support local employment.
“I am pleased the Water Corporation is using the skills and expertise of Western Australians as part of this important project,” Kelly said.
“Through this contract about 170 local workers will be employed, with 90% of work to be subcontracted or supplied by Western Australian businesses.”
Clough and SUEZ have been nominated to complete the expansion project, with Clough Managing Director Peter Bennett saying the contractor is looking forward to helping the utility achieve its objectives.
“This development is critical to Water Corporation’s objective to reduce reliance on rainfall and continue to ensure every Western Australian has the water services to sustain the Western Australian lifestyle,” Bennett said.
SUEZ Chief Executive Officer for Water David Lamy said: “SUEZ is proud of the role we play in delivering safe and reliable drinking water to two million residents in Perth and surrounding areas.
“The Advanced Water Recycling Plant will provide an additional, climate independent water source to boost drinking water supplies,” he said.
Construction will begin this month and is expected to take two years to complete.