Non-drinking water sources
It is estimated that about half of the average household water use does not need to be of drinking water quality and could be substituted with an alternative lower quality water source.
There are a number of such water sources that can be used for a range of non-drinking uses, such as watering gardens, parks and sports ovals, or toilet flushing.
In new residential developments, opportunities for the adoption of non-drinking water systems,e.g. for irrigation of parks and gardens, should be considered where appropriate and cost-effective. This needs to be investigated early in the planning process to ensure viability.
The selection of a suitable non-drinking water source is site-specific. Depending on the scale, the following factors should be considered:
- infrastructure needs and land requirements
- what are the intended end uses and the estimated demand?
- are there sufficient quantities of the proposed source available?
- what are the storage and distribution options?
- are there any site-specific constraints, such as location within a public drinking water source area?
- can potential impacts on the environment be managed; for example, proximity to wetlands or acid sulphate soil contamination?
- can potential risks to public health be managed?
- is the concept technically feasible?
- is the concept financially viable?
- is the concept acceptable to the community?
- who will manage the system in the immediate and long term?
- overall environmental footprint – e.g. energy and water use efficiency.
Specific information on non-drinking water sources is provided on the links below:
Water planning should inform and integrate with land-use planning. The availability and suitability of a non-drinking water source and the required government approvals need to be considered early in the planning process to facilitate estate-scale solutions that are efficient and cost-effective.
The department's Guideline for the approval of non-drinking water systems in Western Australia (2013) aims to simplify and clearly define the approval process for the use of non-drinking water, with a focus on urban development. It provides a step-by-step process which may be taken to establish a non-drinking water system in urban developments, including concept planning and design, approvals and implementation.