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Recycled Water grows Lucerne in Alice Springs

A lucerne crop irrigated by water from the Alice Springs sewerage plant is the first step in assessing the use of recycled water for horticulture production in the Red Centre.

The Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry (DPI) research trials will evaluate the water's effects on local soil structure.

Stuart Smith from the Central Australian horticultural development program said using recycled water was a "no-brainer".

"In arid areas like central Australia we need to be able to use every last little piece of water that we can get," he said.

The water is treated to removed solids and microbes that may be detrimental to human health.

"From our Health Department guidelines we needed to use something that wasn't going to be used for human consumption at the start."

The nutrient-rich water is expected to have a positive effect on the lucerne yield, however a high level of dissolved ions may prove detrimental to the soil.

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