Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water Kevin Humphries will today unveil a $73 million recycled water plant at Mayfield that represents a further step to  drought-proofing the Hunter region by producing 3.3 billion litres of clean water a year.

The state of the art recycled water plant will supply water to Orica’s Kooragang Island site, reducing its dependence on drinking water that could meet the needs of between 12,000 and 20,000 homes annually. The Kooragang Recycled Water Scheme, overseen by Hunter Water, and is the largest recycled water project ever undertaken in the region. 

Mr Humphries said the plant delivers highly purified recycled water from the Steel River industrial estate to Orica’s Kooragang Island site via an eight kilometre pipeline that runs under the Hunter River.

“Through efficient and effective management of the Hunter’s water resources, this plant is the most significant step yet in the NSW Government’s efforts to deliver the efficiency that will further drought proof the Hunter region,” Mr Humphries said.

“Water Wise Rules save the Hunter about one billion litres of drinking water a year. The Kooragang Recycled Water Scheme can triple those savings.

“Until now, Orica has been the Hunter’s largest water customer, using five per cent of all water consumed in the Hunter.. With the development of this state of the art facility, the majority of Orica’s need will be met through recycled water, vastly enhancing the region’s water security.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Senator Simon Birmingham said the Australian Government contributed $4.2 million towards the project as part of a grant to Hunter Water under the Water for the Future initiative.

“The Australian Government supports initiatives that drive investment in diverse water supply options, and encourages industry and the community to use water more efficiently,” Senator Birmingham said.

Hunter Water Managing Director Kim Wood said the recycled water being produced at the Steel River site is better quality than rain water.

“The water is so pure it is actually cleaner than what falls from the sky. It’s actually more pure than drinking water given it lacks dissolved salts and minerals,” Mr Wood said.

“With the environment front of mind, Hunter Water has also planted 300,000 trees to ensure the Kooragang Recycled Water Scheme is carbon neutral.

“The project means eight per cent of all sewage processed in the Hunter is now being converted to recycled water, and being sold to businesses such as Orica, power stations, dairy farms and even golf clubs.”