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Perth's recycled water groundwater replenishment doubled

By 2060, one fifth of Perth’s water supply is expected to be replenished groundwater. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Perth is pumping recycled water into the underground aquifers that provide its drinking water supply as part of a strategy to drought-proof the city against climate change.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on Monday approved an application for the Western Australian water authority to double the capacity of its groundwater replenishment scheme, bringing the amount of recycled water pumped into the Gnangara Mound every year to 28 gigalitres.

The most recent proposal would see the Water Corporation build a 12.8km pipeline from a proposed recycled water plant at Beenyup in the northern suburbs to two different aquifer points, where it will be pumped into Leederville and Yarragadee aquifers.

About 14 gigalitres of wastewater per year would be processed and treated to potable standard at the new Beenyup recycled water facility, before being pumped into the aquifers. The same amount of water will extracted from those aquifers every year to be treated again and used as drinking water.

Murdoch University professor of desalination and water treatment, Wendell Ela, said pumping recycled water into the underground system rather than using it directly once it was treated to a potable standard, reduced “the yuk factor”.

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