Coffs the best at conserving water
NSW’s top engineering body has awarded Coffs Harbour’s Water Reclamation Plant an Engineering Excellence accolade in its ‘Three Rs: Recovering, Recycling and Reusing’ category.
The award was presented by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) at a recent ceremony in Wollongong.
“It’s always gratifying to have Council’s work acknowledged at this level, but the reason we undertake these strategies is always to provide the best possible service to our community, in the most cost-effective way,” Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Keith Rhoades said.
“The ‘Reclaimed Water Strategy’ is a classic example. The whole focus of the project was to ensure that, by producing reclaimed water for irrigation, we can conserve our drinking water in a sustainable way, so that the community has adequate supplies in the driest times.
“Being recognised for this work is a bonus for the team involved, but ultimately the biggest winner is the city and community,” he said.
In 1997, council began to develop a citywide $250m sewerage strategy to update, replace and expand its infrastructure – as well as establish a reclaimed water system. Under the first stage of the strategy, council built the Moonee Water Reclamation Plant, upgraded the Woolgoolga Water Reclamation Plant at a cost of $16m, and constructed a Deep Sea Release to dispose of excess reclaimed water. Coffs Harbour’s $96m Water Reclamation Plant was completed during the second stage of the strategy.
The Coffs Harbour Water Reclamation Plant, which was constructed as part of the Coffs Harbour Infrastructure Alliance, is capable of producing up to 21 megalitres of reclaimed water daily.
Coffs Harbour is now recognised as a national leader in the provision and commercial use of reclaimed water. There are currently 44 users of the city’s reclaimed water including nurseries, sports grounds, golf courses, a school, agricultural producers and council itself.