Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Dr Mark O’Donohue

CEO Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence

Centre of Excellence invests in Australia's water quality

Joint media release
28 March 2011
DF11/007

The Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence has awarded $200,000 in funding to its first project - the development of a National Validation Framework for water recycling.

The framework will provide a consistent and efficient approach to validation, which does not compromise the safety of the water recycling process.

Announcing the funding today, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the project was an important investment in Australia's water security.

"Water recycling is an important part of a secure, diversified water supply and this project will help ensure water is safe and of consistently high-quality across Australia," Senator Farrell said.

Water recycling schemes must run tests to ensure - or validate - that their systems work correctly and efficiently to produce water that meets the requirements in the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling.

Centre of Excellence CEO Dr Mark O'Donohue said engagement with utilities, regulators and researchers during development of the Centre's research strategy identified the need for a national framework as a high priority for the water industry.

"Developing a National Validation Framework is a key component of the Centre's research agenda, which is why this project is the first to be funded," Dr O'Donohue said.

"Australia has national guidelines that set recycled water quality requirements. However, each State and Territory has its own validation approach, often with different criteria and testing requirements."

Led by Water Quality Research Australia, the project team will work with industry, regulators and researchers to develop the framework.

Water Quality Research Australia Acting CEO, Dr Michele Akeroyd, said the team was excited to take the lead on such a significant project.

"We have a fantastic project team, drawing the best people from over 20 organisations including the CSIRO and leading universities, state regulators, and utilities and manufacturers involved in water recycling across the country," Dr Akeroyd said.

In addition to funding from the Centre of Excellence and Water Quality Research Australia, the project will receive financial support from Dow Chemical and the Water Services Association of Australia.

The first stage of establishing the framework will begin in April. It will result in a Roadmap Report that identifies priority investment required to fill gaps in knowledge about validation, sets out mechanisms for industry, regulators and researchers to jointly deliver a framework, and identifies any additional resources required.

Once the roadmap report is accepted, the Centre of Excellence will allocate up to $3 million in further funding for establishment of the National Validation Framework.

The Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence aims to enhance the management and use of water recycling by investing in research into practical solutions for securing Australia's future water supply, while at the same time building awareness and understanding in the community about this precious resource.

The Australian Government has committed $20 million in funding over five years to the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, through the Water for the Future initiative.

For more information on the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence visit www.australianwaterrecycling.com.au