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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2283..


Water conservation

MS DUNDAS: My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Minister, you have urged all ACT residents to conserve water and have noted that most drinking water consumed is used to water outdoor areas. Can you please inform the Assembly how much of the 30,000 or so megalitres of water that disappears between the supply and waste water treatment stages of the water loop is used for watering public places in the territory?

MR STANHOPE

: At this stage, 4.6 per cent of the treated water at the lower Molonglo water treatment plant is recycled. I cannot say that that is utilised on public land. The majority of the 4.6 per cent of recycled water from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant is utilised by a Hardy's winery. Very little of the water is utilised at this stage for watering or irrigating public lands. It is the ACT government's intention to set a more rigorous target for the recycling of water from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant.

It is certainly one of the major challenges facing us as we move to the development of a water strategy to recycle grey water, not just from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant but also in our homes and businesses. These are major challenges facing the community; they are at the heart of the water strategy the government is developing. At this stage, we are recycling 4.6 per cent of the 30-plus gigalitres of water that runs from the treatment plant back into the Murrumbidgee. I am looking to raise that significantly over the next 10 years. Indeed, it is our intention to set a target of around 20 per cent.

MS DUNDAS

: I have a supplementary question. Minister, you said that 4.6 per cent of recycled water is being used. Can you find out how much of that is being used on public land and how much water we use to water our public land? With your target of 20 per cent of recycled water being used, is that 20 per cent of the water going onto public land being recycled water or just 20 of the recycled water being utilised?

MR STANHOPE

: I will seek to determine how much of the 4.6 per cent is utilised on public land. I think it is a minimal amount, but I will get the actual measure for you. At the moment, 4.6 per cent is the amount of grey water or recycled water from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant that is not pumped back into the Murrumbidgee but is used for all purposes.

The most significant user of that water is the Hardy's winery at Holt. I will determine what other water is used and whether any is used on public land. The target that I propose for the recycling of water is 20 per cent. It is a target I anticipate we should be able to reach within 10 years. That would be 20 per cent of all grey water emanating from the lower Molonglo water treatment plant to be used for all purposes.

We propose, concomitantly, to pursue a rigorous program across the board. The hope is that not so much of our household and other water actually reaches the lower Molonglo water treatment plant in the first place. That is part of the equation.


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