THE Plantagenet shire is likely to use recycled effluent water this summer on its public parks and ovals.
Last month’s council meeting was told that a very dry winter had resulted in current water storage being severely depleted, and that reserves going into summer would be well below requirements.
Works and services executive manager David Lynch told council that Sounness Park had been watered from the Mitchell street standpipe for the past two years, but had proven expensive and unsustainable.
He said that it was preferable to restrict the application of recycled effluent water until the full effects of the excessive nutrients in the water were known.
Over-irrigation could create nutrient imbalances which, if corrected by the addition of other nutrients, could lead to excessive turf growth, resulting in increased maintenance and additional nutrient application.
There was little point spending money to grow extra grass that required further expenditure to manage, he said.
Some councillors expressed concern about the potential cost of the recycled water.
Mr Lynch said that the principal cost lay in setting up the necessary infrastructure, which could be around $10,000. Ongoing costs were limited to an annual backflow test which cost about $250, and staff time and postage to collect water samples for testing, to comply with Department of Health requirements. Water Corporation would supply a chlorine meter free of charge.
Council voted unanimously to ask Water Corporation to allocate 15,000 kilolitres of treated effluent water per annum, and more if required, provided that the water was used in accordance with best-practice environmental and public health standards.
The agenda for council’s October 8 meeting included a recommendation to set up a $20,000 contingency fund for installing the infrastructure needed to enable the immediate use, if required, of recycled effluent water for shire recreational facilities.
The outcome of that recommendation was unknown as this issue of The Voice went to press.