Should council use more recycled water?
BALLINA Shire Council will this week discuss whether its current use of recycled water should be reinvestigated.
Councillor Jeff Johnson will bring a motion before this Thursday's ordinary meeting, in which he will call for the council to review its Recycled Water Master Plan and assess the current use of recycled water across the shire.
Cr Johnson has called for them to look at this rate of use "with a view to increasing the reuse goal from 80 per cent dry weather reuse to 100 per cent dry weather reuse".
He will also ask for the council to receive a report on the cost/benefit balance of extending the recycled water program and associated infrastructure, to potentially increase the number of sporting fields, parks and gardens included in the program.
Such a report would also give consideration to boosting recycled water supply in rural areas.
In his notice of motion, Cr Johnson said he saw this action as "the logical extension of the visionary recycled water program that Ballina Shire Council has implemented over the last eight years".
"The changing weather and our increasing population is putting pressure on Ballina and our region's long term water security," he said.
"Increasing the use of recycled water is one way to ensure that our water supply can continue to provide in the medium to longer term.
"There are also additional benefits including improvements to the quality of the surface of our sporting fields and potentially assisting water intensive industries to flourish in certain areas that can be connected to the recycled water network.
"While I understand that during periods of high rainfall it is impossible to divert all of the treated effluent away from our creeks and waterways, if council can create employment opportunities and improve our sports field and open spaces, while at the same time reducing the effluent going into our water ways then that would be a win-win."
The council's staff, in comments attached to the motion, said there was "extensive" work involved in what Cr Johnson suggested, and stressed that scale of work should be included in the annual Operational Plan for proper resourcing.
"Staff are supportive of reviewing the recycled water master plan, which this motion would entail, subject to it being in a structured manner with reasonable expectations on timing," they said.