Groundwater replenishment

Find out about this innovative process and how it will help to reduce our dependence on rainfall and secure our water supply for the future.

What is groundwater replenishment?

It's an innovative concept where treated wastewater is further treated to drinking water standards and recharged into our groundwater supplies. The water can then be stored in our underground aquifers, which store and naturally filter the water until we need it.

It doesn't rely on rainfall and has the potential to recycle large volumes of water naturally and sustainably.

Currently, groundwater replenishment makes up 2% of our Integrated Water Supply Scheme.

How does it work?

Watch our video which explains how this innovative process works:

Read a transcript of this video (new window)

A first for Australia

Australia’s first full-scale Groundwater Replenishment Scheme is located in Perth’s northern suburbs, in Craigie, Western Australia. It started recharging recycled water to Perth's deep aquifers in 2017.

The Advanced Water Recycling Plant will have the capacity to recycle up to 28 billion litres a year, with half of this water recharging the Leederville and Yarragadee Aquifers onsite and the remaining volume of water being transferred to recharge bores drilled in Wanneroo and Neerabup.

You can find out more about groundwater replenishment by taking one of our guided tours at the Groundwater Replenishment Visitor Centre. You'll be taken on an exciting water cycle journey through interpretive walkways, multimedia experiences and on-site viewing stations.

Book a tour

Frequently asked questions

In 2012, we completed a successful 3-year groundwater replenishment trial at our Advanced Water Recycling Plant in Craigie, which determined it could be used as a sustainable option to boost drinking water supplies.

The trial achieved its 3 objectives to:

  1. Prove technical feasibility.
  2. Establish a framework for policy and regulation – recycled water produced by the plant must meet Department of Health and Australian Drinking Water Guidelines before it is recharged.
  3. Ensure sufficient community engagement and acceptance, gaining support from Perth residents, business and government. 

The trial was overseen by regulators, the Department of Health, Department of Water, and Department of Environmental Regulation (formerly Department of Environment and Conservation). They continue to regulate the full scale scheme.

Before wastewater reaches the Advanced Water Recycling Plant, it has already undergone rigorous treatment at the Beenyup Wastewater Treatment Plant.

At the Advanced Water Recycling Plant, it undergoes further advanced treatment processes that included ultra filtration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection. This removes chemicals and micro-organisms to meet Australian guidelines for drinking water.

Advanced wastewater treatment process

There are several water quality checkpoints (known as critical control points) throughout the treatment process to ensure each stage of the plant is working at an optimum levels.

If water does not meet the required standard when it reaches a check point, it triggers an alert for action to be taken. For example, we may divert the water to waste or temporarily shut down the plant.

Ongoing work

Plans are already underway to expand the capacity of Perth’s first Groundwater Replenishment Scheme.

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