The used water that goes down toilets, sinks and drains and into the sewerage system. Also known as sewage. About 99% of it is water.
Recycling water isn't new. Nature recycles water over and over again. We use technology to speed this process up. Find out how it’s done, how recycled water can be used and where we do it in Greater Sydney.
Recycled water is water that's been used before.
Did you know that all the Water on Earth is all that we have?
It's continually moving through the natural water cycle.
We have many water sources to make sure we have resilient and liveable cities as our population grows and our climate changes.
Recycled water is a valuable resource. It's important we use, reuse and conserve it wisely.
All water can be recycled, but it most often comes from wastewater, stormwater or greywater. We clean the water so that it's safe to be reused. You can learn more about How we turn wastewater into recycled water.
Recycled water has been through several treatment steps. The number and treatment steps used depends on how the water will be used.
We treat recycled water to meet the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling 2006. To make sure it's safe to use, we monitor and test the water regularly.
Recycled water uses
Reducing and reusing water is a great way to make sure we have enough, and help care for the environment.
Recycling water means we have another water source to rely on in case of drought and for a growing population.
We don't need to use drinking water to flush toilets or water sports fields. Recycled water can do the job safely and just as well. We can make cooler, greener and more liveable cities when we reuse water.
Some activities, like fighting fires, use high volumes of water very quickly. We can conserve drinking water and use recycled water instead.
Recycled water comes to you through purple pipes that are completely separate from the drinking water system. The recycled water system has separate taps for safety.
If your home or school has recycled water you should be able to see:
Try the Does your school have purple taps? classroom activity.
Recycled water is great for:
We clean the water to a high standard so it can be safely used again, but it's not treated enough for drinking.
Recycled water from a purple tap or pipe in greater Sydney can't be used for:
Learn more about using recycled water.
We have 14 water resource recovery facilities that recycle water. Find out more about our recycled water network.
We run 4 of the largest water recycling projects in Australia.
The Rouse Hill Water Resource Recovery Facility is our largest residential recycling project.
It provides recycled water to about 32,000 homes and businesses in the Rouse Hill area for things like watering gardens and flushing toilets.
There are 2 sites at St Marys that work together to make high-quality recycled water for 2 different purposes.
The St Marys Water Resource Recovery Facility produces recycled water for irrigating the local golf course.
Right next door, the St Marys Advanced Water Treatment Plant is part of Sydney’s largest water recycling project. It produces up to 18 billion litres of very high quality water a year for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system.
The Penrith Water Resource Recovery Facility makes recycled water that's used to water sporting fields in Penrith.
Some of the water is also sent to St Marys Advanced Water Treatment Plant to produce very high quality water for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system.
Wollongong Water Resource Recovery Facility makes 2 different types of recycled water.
It makes some recycled water that is suitable to irrigate the local golf course and sporting fields, and for dust suppression at the nearby coal terminal.
The facility also uses advanced membrane technology to provide high quality recycled water to BlueScope Steel at Port Kembla.
BlueScope Steel uses about 20 million litres of recycled water every day to make iron and steel, cool the plant and equipment and reduce dust.
We aren't the only organisation recycling water. Urban water management is a big job and we all have a role to play.
There are lots of other water recycling projects around Australia and the world. The Australian Water Association website has more information about water recycling.
Want to visit one of our sites? We offer free excursions and technical tours to schools, universities and community groups.