Recycled sewage water could soon be in our taps

THE Palaszczuk Government has paved the way to adding treated sewage water to southeast Queensland's drinking supplies under changes quietly introduced as the world grappled with the COVID-19 crisis.

The move comes as the more than two-thirds of the state remains drought declared and south-east Queensland's combined dam levels hover around 65 per cent.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the regulation, introduced in March, allows for Urban Utilities to send treated wastewater to Seqwater to be put through the recycling process for drinking.

It will still be up to the State Government to decide if recycled water will be used for drinking, but the regulation paves the way for the Government to make the decision should dam levels fall further in the future.

In response to a number questions about the regulation, Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham insisted south-east Queensland households continued to enjoy "safe, reliable water supply and no water restrictions". He said this was despite dam levels falling to 55.6 per cent capacity earlier this year, which he said was the lowest level in a decade.

Wivenhoe Dam is currently sitting at 50 per cent capacity.
Wivenhoe Dam is currently sitting at 50 per cent capacity.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the regulation was a result of "Labor's anti-dams agenda" and promised that the LNP would not "force" southeast Queensland residents to drink recycled water.

"Wastewater might be good for some irrigation but it isn't for drinking," she said.

"Queenslanders shouldn't be forced to drink dirty water just because Labor have failed to secure our water supply."

Ms Frecklington touted her party's New Bradfield Scheme, which she said would create thousands of jobs.

The State Government confirmed this week that 67.4 per cent of the total area of Queensland remained drought-declared following a disappointing wet season.

The Western Corridor Recycled Water Pipeline has never been used to supplement drinking water supplies since it was constructed more than a decade ago.

Originally published as Recycled sewage water could soon be in our taps