Phone: 08 8323 7633

General FAQs

Q1. What can you safely use reclaimed water for?
A.
Drip irrigation of vines, fruit trees, nut crops and flowers.  Other uses may be possible subject to relevant approvals.


Q2. Can you drink reclaimed water?
A.
No you cannot drink reclaimed water from WBW.  However, it is possible to further treat reclaimed water to potable water standards and this is being proposed in a number of places around Australia and the world.


Q3. How safe is reclaimed water?
A. Reclaimed water is completely safe for drip irrigation so long as the safety guidelines supplied by WBW are followed.


Q4. Does the WBWC reclaimed water smell?
A. No.


Q5. Why don't they stop sending all the water out to sea from the Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant?
A.
Because during winter the treated wastewater that WBW doesn’t use has to go somewhere and there is not adequate storage facilities available to store it all for reuse during summer.  WBW is constantly working towards establishing additional storage capacity.


Q6. Does reclaimed water affect the wine being produced from the irrigated grapes?
A.
No.  WBW has been distributing reclaimed water to grapegrowers in the Southern Vales region since 1999.  Several independent research studies have proven that the use of reclaimed water has no discernable affect on wine produced from these vineyards.  Vine roots are perfectly designed to extract pure water from reclaimed water.


Q7. Why not make the water available to people to irrigate their gardens?
A.
This is being proposed for the future.


Q8. Who paid for construction of the pipeline?
A.
A partnership of 15 primary producers in the Southern Vales region collaborated to build the pipeline.


Q9. Why isn’t more of this happening all around Australia?
A.
There are other reclaimed water schemes in Australia but there is room for growth.  Given the water situation in Australia, much broader use of reclaimed water is the way of the future.


Q10. How well is the system working and are the operators satisfied with it?
A. The system is working extremely well, as all of the users would testify.  The WBW pipeline has been successfully operating since 1999.  There are now more than 140 users of the WBW system and it is reliably providing water to irrigate more than 4,000 acres of prime land for grapegrowing and other fruits e.g. olives.


Q11. What is the difference between reclaimed water and groundwater?
A.
Reclaimed water is water sourced from wastewater treatment plants that has been tertiary treated and filtered for reuse.  Groundwater is water sourced from underground aquifers


Q12. Is WBW water cheaper than other water?
A.
For irrigation, WBW’s water is up to 40% cheaper per kilolitre than mains water.  The establishment cost of WBW water is typically cheaper than a groundwater license.


Q13. Do wineries want to promote that they use reclaimed water on their grapes?
A.
Wineries should feel very confident telling people that they support the reuse of a valuable resource.  The use of reclaimed water is a good news story for wineries.  It is an economically and environmentally smart way to operate their vineyards.  Comprehensive research and testing has been conducted on the use of reclaimed water on vineyards – it’s safe and has no negative impact on the vines, grapes or resultant wine.  Using reclaimed water for irrigation is the way of the future.


Q14. Does the system suffer from much downtime?
A.
No, the system has proven to be extremely reliable.  Regular pre-emptive maintenance on plant and equipment is carried out annually.


Q15. How does the use of reclaimed water help the environment?
A.
It means less wastewater is pumped out to sea, which helps to protect sea life like seagrass and other marine biodiversity.  It reduces our reliance on mains water from reservoirs and the River Murray.  It reduces the use of groundwater, which helps protect the valuable underground aquifers.

Q16. Does reclaimed water affect the wine being produced from the irrigated grapes?
A.
No. WBW has been distributing reclaimed water to grapegrowers in the Southern Vales region since 1999. Several technical studies have proven that the use of recycled water has no discernable affect on wine produced from these vineyards.  Vine roots extract pure water from recycled water.


Q17. How safe is reclaimed water for irrigation?
A.
Reclaimed water is completely safe for drip irrigation as long as the safety guidelines provided to you by WBW are followed.


Q18. What approvals do I need from government authorities to use this water?
A.
Most approvals are the same irrespective of whether groundwater or reclaimed water is used.  WBWC obtains approval from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of Health (DEH) through an Irrigation Management Plan.


Q19. How long has the scheme been operating and how successful is it?
A.
The WBW scheme has been operating since 1999.  A group of primary producers in the Southern Vales region collaborated to build the pipeline and now there are more than 140 users of the WBW system.  It is reliably providing water to irrigate more than 4,000 acres of prime land for grapegrowing and other fruits e.g. olives.

This information is provided to you as a guide only.
Please CONTACT US for more information.