BAROON Pocket Dam during a 2014 dry spell, is now down to 46.9% holding just 28,627mega litres of its 61,000 mega litre capacity.
BAROON Pocket Dam during a 2014 dry spell, is now down to 46.9% holding just 28,627mega litres of its 61,000 mega litre capacity. Warren Lynam

Why recycling water has become inevitable

RECYCLING must be an option on the table in the planning of future water security for south-east Queensland, according to a keynote speaker at a seminar to be held at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Jenifer Simpson (OAM) said the current big dry now being experienced was a taste of things to come. Planning for future water supply had to be climate change resilient.

The seminar aims to raise awareness of the factors that govern a new major water supply for south-east Queensland.

Water demand from our growing population was increasing at the same time as the yield of our dams was decreasing due to climate changes.

Awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2014 for services to conservation and the environment, Ms Simpson has been a 20-year advocate for water re-use.

She said any solution had to consider the impacts of climate change and the benefits of recycling which was cheaper and consumed less energy than desalination.

"California is in much worse straits than here and they recycle water happily," Ms Simpson said.

"Discharge goes into every river in the world and they do it in Queensland above Mount Crosby then draw water out.

"The big problem is that few people have any idea what is put into and taken out of water, the organic chemicals and how they affect us and the environment."

Ms Simpson said people wanted water out of the tap 24/7 with enough pressure to put out a fire, their waste managed and they don't want to pay for something that falls from the sky.

"What people must realise," she said. "Is you don't pay for the water, you pay for the service."

As we come out of one of the hottest winters on record into a spring that will hit summer heat this weekend and with little rain in sight the Sunshine Coast for the Water Wisdom: The Urban Water Cycle seminar to be held at USC on September 27 will explore future options.

Other speakers include representatives from SEQWater, Urban Utilities, Water Secure and Unitywater and industry professionals with expertise covering water sources, catchment management, waste and drinking water treatment, desalination and recycling. They include Ian Law, Associate Professor Helen Stratton, Tony McAlister, Warren Traves, Peter Griffiths, Tim Odgers, Ms Simpson and Jim Pruss.

The event in Lecture Theatre 2, ground floor, K Building, from 9am to 4pm is free but registration is required by September 22.

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