04/06/2008 - 22:00

Better use of water resources key state focus

04/06/2008 - 22:00

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Western Australia could be recycling 30 per cent of its wastewater by 2030, with the state government making water recycling a key focus of its water plan.

Better use of water resources key state focus

Western Australia could be recycling 30 per cent of its wastewater by 2030, with the state government making water recycling a key focus of its water plan.

The Department of Water estimates that water demand from the mining and resources sector will almost double in that time, and is working with industry to develop new water sources and encourage efficient water use.

The mining and resources industry currently represents 26 per cent of the state's total water use, using just more than 600 gigalitres a year.

But forecast growth in the sector could lead to total demand for water use of between 1,000GL and 1,400GL by 2030, representing an additional demand of between 400GL and 800GL in total.

"We do have the water resources to meet future demand, but we can't be too complacent," Department of Water director general Kim Taylor said. "It's about being adaptive and using water resources more cleverly."

Climate change and drought, as well as the issues surrounding the Murray Darling system in the east, have elevated the issue of water supply security high on the agenda.

For its part, the government is facilitating the development of a number of water recycling initiatives and funding research in that area through the premier's water foundation.

Key projects, including the proposed expansion of the Kwinana Water Reclamation Plant (KWRP) and CleanTeq's Woodman Point wastewater treatment plant, are helping to develop sustainable water sources for industry on the Kwinana strip.

The reclamation plant currently produces 17 million litres a day of industrial grade water, with the proposed expansion expected to add a further 10ML of water supply a day.

Tiwest is one of four major companies that draw water from the reclamation plant for its titanium dioxide plant.

Historically one of the largest users of scheme water in WA and a significant user of groundwater, the company has cut its scheme water usage by more than half since 2002 through a series of water efficiency, recycled water use and onsite recycling initiatives.

Tiwest has set itself an ambitious goal of eliminating potable scheme water use for processing purposes over the next few years, aided by the development of KWRP2.

The company currently takes about 5.1ML of recycled water from the reclamation plant per day, with most of the balance supplied by bore water.

Tiwest executive manager, commercial and logisitic services, Neil Liddelow, said while the water initiatives were a cost the company had to bear, its activities were good corporate responsibility.

"Potable water is a big issue for WA. It's our responsibility to step up and do the right thing. We'd encourage other industries on the strip to do the same," he said.

The government is currently in the process of facilitating the development of a major water initiative in Collie, which will involve diverting saline water from the Collie River into mine voids.

The construction of a desalination plant has been proposed to treat the saline water for use by industry, initially treating between 3GL and 6GL a year before building up to 10GL.

It follows Griffin's successful East Collie River Diversion trial, which diverted 2,900ML of saline water from the East Collie River into the Chicken Creek mine void, reducing the salinity of the Wellington Dam.

Industrial water demand in Collie is expected to increase, with the government committing to develop a new industrial park 13 kilometres east of the town.

In addition, demand from each of Griffin's two Bluewaters coal-fired power stations is is estimated at up to 3GL a year.

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