National Guidelines for Water Recycling


There is considerable pressure to increase water recycling to cope
with ongoing drought and increasing demand for water. Water recycling
programs are being developed by all jurisdictions as key elements of
integrated water cycle management. Recycling, particularly substitution
for non-drinking water uses of potable water, is seen as critical to
effectively managing demand and deferring expensive new infrastructure.

Consequently, the Environment Protection and Heritage Council and
the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council initiated the
development of national guidelines for water recycling. The guidelines
comprise a risk management framework and specific guidance on managing
the health risks and the environmental risks associated with the use of
recycled water.

The guidelines initially focus on:

  • large-scale treated sewage and grey-water to be used for:
    • residential garden watering, car washing, toilet flushing and clothes washing;
    • irrigation for urban recreational and open space, and agriculture and horticulture;
    • fire protection and fire fighting systems;
    • industrial uses, including cooling water; and
  • grey-water treated on-site (including in high rise
    apartments and office blocks) for use for garden watering, car washing,
    toilet flushing and clothes washing.

Phase two of guideline development, anticipated to commence in
2006, will focus on stormwater reuse, aquifer storage and recovery as a
method of recycling reclaimed water and potable use of recycled water.

The release of a draft set of guidelines by the Councils gives
organisations and individuals the opportunity to be informed about the
guideline development process and to provide comment that can be taken
into account prior to their finalisation. The purpose of the document
is to provide guidelines for assessing risk (rather than to provide a
‘how to’ manual for water recycling), and a particular focus will be
placed on obtaining feedback from the public consultation process as to
the utility of the guidelines for different types of users.

The National Guidelines for Water Recycling – Managing Health and Environmental Risks and a report National Guidelines for Water Recycling – Managing Health and Environmental Risks – Impact Assessment, which assesses the likely impacts of a move to a national risk management framework, can be downloaded below.

Written submissions on the draft guidelines should be sent to:

Mr Haemish Middleton
Project Officer
NEPC Service Corporation
Level 5, 81 Flinders Street

The closing date for submissions is Friday 13 January 2006.

Submissions may be lodged electronically or in hardcopy. All
submissions will be public documents unless clearly marked
‘confidential’ and may be made available to other interested parties.
The release of the guidelines does not signify government endorsement
of every aspect of the document other than as a suitable basis for
wider consultation with the community.

Information on the guideline development process or how to make a
submission can be obtained from the NEPC Service Corporation on (08)
8419 1200 or by emailing

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.