Recycled Water Scheme

Parkes Shire Council's new Recycled Water Scheme (RWS) supplies high quality recycled water for open space irrigation sites around Parkes. The scheme strengthens Parkes’ water security by providing an additional source of water for non-potable (non-drinking) use.

Parkes Recycled Water Scheme achieves significant water and energy savings by:

  • reclaiming wastewater discharges
  • substituting potable supply for municipal irrigation
  • reducing energy costs of raw water transfer and treatment
  • incorporating solar PV systems and operational scheduling to reduce energy consumption

The Recycled Water Scheme reclaims 250ML of wastewater a year, avoiding the release of the same volume of effluent to the environment, and saving 185ML drinking water that would otherwise be used for municipal irrigation.

The Advanced Water Recycling Facility is supported by a 197 solar PV system to offset energy consumption. Further energy savings associated with not having to pump and treat potable water from raw water sources amount to 42 MWh per year.

There is potential to expand the Recycled Water Rising Main to include additional commercial customers in the future. This is dependent on demand, capacity, and financial viability.

The Recycled Water Scheme (RWS) was undertaken as part of the Parkes Integrated Water Infrastructure Renewal Program. The RWS was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael McCormack on 25 October 2019.

The sustainability benefits of the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme have been recognised with prestigious awards including:

  • 2019 LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Award for Sustainable Infrastructure
  • 2019 Tidy Towns and Sustainable Communities Award for Response to Climate Change
  • 2020 NSW Australian Water Association Award for Program Innovation


Frequently Asked Questions

What is recycled water?

Recycled water is highly treated wastewater that can be reused for agricultural, industrial, or municipal purposes.

Parkes' recycled water is produced at the new Advanced Water Treatment Facility (AWRF), which outputs high quality recycled water that is suitable for the controlled irrigation of public open spaces.


How is recycled water produced?

Wastewater generated in our homes and businesses is transported to the new Sewage Treatment Plant by our sewerage network, where it is subject to intensive treatment processes. Once it has been screened, filtered, refined and disinfected, the effluent (treated wastewater) produced at the Sewage Treatment Plant is fit for discharge to Goobang Creek.

However, instead of releasing the effluent to the environment, it is redirected to the AWRF for additional treatment that includes powerful ultra violet and chlorine disinfection.  The AWRF treats wastewater according to the Australian guidelines for water recycling. This ensures our recycled water is safe and suitable for its intended use, and brings Parkes’ water recycling activities up to current regulatory and industry best practice standards.

The Recycled Water Scheme replaces the previous Effluent Reuse Scheme; a long-running program that supplied treated wastewater to irrigate the Parkes Golf Club and Parkes Jockey Club.


What is the water quality for recycled water?

Parkes Advanced Water Recycling Facility treats effluent to a very high standard to ensure our community receives safe and clean recycled water for irrigation.

The below graph shows a comparison of the water quality from different sources.  The graph represents bacterial contamination and the turbidity - or murkiness - of the water.

The average water quality is represented by a dot point. The variability of the water quality is represented by the bubble. Water quality can be variable due to environmental conditions. The more variable the water quality, the larger the bubble on the map. This means that under different conditions the water quality may be either much cleaner or much dirtier than usual.

Parkes Town drinking water is treated to drinking water standards. Because this water is so clean and the water quality is consistent it is represented by a very small bubble at the intersection of the axis.

Parkes Recycled Water quality is similarly consistent, as represented by the small purple bubble that appears as a line along the Y axis. This demonstrates negligible bacterial contamination and low variability with turbidity.




What are the benefits of a Recycled Water Scheme?

The Recycled Water Scheme will provide Parkes with a new source of high quality water to be used for irrigation. The concept was developed through extensive community consultation and promises to increase water security by providing an alternative source of water for non-domestic use.

The Recycled Water Scheme will provide Parkes with a new drought-proof water supply, ensuring our parks and green spaces can be maintained during drought, while reducing the demand on treated drinking water supply.

The Recycled Water Scheme will create a completely new local water source, reducing the need to pump raw water from Forbes and relieving pressure on limited natural water resources.


Why recycle water?

Domestic wastewater comes from greywater generated from showers, washing machines, sinks and drains, as well as blackwater from toilets and kitchens. Contaminating waste makes up less than one percent of wastewater. Over ninety-nine percent of wastewater is water that can be reclaimed and reused.

Ultimately all of our water is recycled through nature. Water is naturally cleaned and purified as it moves through the natural cycle of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and infiltration. Recycled water schemes use state-of-the-art technology to fast-track the natural water cycle, allowing this precious resource to circulate within the urban water system longer.

Many different water recycling schemes are already in place across the country, helping to preserve our valuable drinking water supplies in an uncertain climate.


Where is recycled water being used?

Parkes recycled water is already being used to irrigate the Parkes Golf Course and the Parkes Racecourse.

The 12km Recycled Water Rising Main has been constructed to deliver recycled water to the following irrigated open spaces:

  • Harrison Park Fields 1 & 2
  • Armstrong Park
  • PAC Park
  • Keast Park
  • Davey Park
  • North Parkes Oval
  • Kelly Reserve - around the dog park
  • Cooper's Park
  • Pioneer Oval
  • Bushmans Hill
  • Lions Memorial Park
  • Woodward Oval
  • Rotary Arboretum
  • Spicer Oval
  • Parkes Cemetery


Can I get my property connected to the Recycled Water Scheme?

The Parkes Recycled Water Scheme is not available to domestic customers.

The Scheme was designed to support use as municipal irrigation, which will benefit our shared green spaces.

It is not cost-effective to duplicate or retrofit domestic plumbing with the necessary plumbing to enable domestic reuse.

However, domestic grey water systems are commercially available and interested residents are able to install these at their own expense.


When is recycled water used?

Generally recycled water will be used to irrigate overnight between the hours of 10pm and 7am.

This reduces the chance of people inadvertently coming into contact with reclaimed water, while also following best practice for irrigation and further protecting our water supply.

There may be times when recycled water is used during daylight hours to check connections or perform maintenance. However, any scheduled watering will occur overnight.


The $20.9m Recycled Water Scheme is jointly funded between the Australian Government and Parkes Shire Council. The Australian Government provided $8,725,000 towards the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme under the National Stronger Regions Fund.