From 2009 to 2012, we trialed groundwater replenishment under local conditions at our Advanced Water Recycling Plant in Craigie to determine if it could be used as a sustainable option to boost drinking water supplies in the future.
At the end of 2012, the Groundwater Replenishment Trial had successfully achieved its three objectives to:
- Prove technical feasibility
- Establish a framework for policy and regulation
- Ensure sufficient community engagement and acceptance
The trial also allowed us to gain knowledge about the effect groundwater replenishment has on the groundwater environment.
At the end of the trial, more than 62,300 water quality samples had been taken (throughout the treatment process and at the point of recharge), all of which met stringent health and environmental guidelines.
We also engaged the community through tours of the visitor centre, social media, community festivals and online forums.
Community support remained consistent throughout the trial with the final telephone survey in October 2012 showing community support for a full-scale scheme at 76 per cent.
At the end of the trial, together with the regulators – Department of Health, Department of Water, and Department Environment and Conservation (now Department of Environmental Regulation) – we prepared an assessment of the trial for the state government’s consideration. In July 2013, the state government endorsed the report and plans to proceed with a full-scale scheme.