BRIEF – 10 March 2010 – A key message from The Australian Water Association’s national water conference, Ozwater ’10,  which concluded in Brisbane this week was that Australian governments are jeopardising our future drinking water supplies by refusing to consider recycled drinking water as a solution to Australia’s water demands.

Chief Executive of the Australian Water Association, Tom Mollenkopf urged governments to stop shying away from indirect potable reuse and seriously consider it as a viable drinking water source for the future.

“Desalination and other initiatives have bought our cities some time but these projects will be pushed to the limit as Australia’s population grows from 21 million to an estimated 35 million by 2050. In 20-30 years many cities will be looking for the next solution to increasing water needs. There is no doubt that dams, desalination and sustainable water management practices will remain important to securing our water supplies, but let’s not wait until the next crisis before any further action is taken.”

Mr Mollenkopf said it would be economically, environmentally and socially irresponsible for some governments to dismiss water reuse and recycling. He said: “In many cases recycling offers a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable option than the alternatives, and advanced water treatment technology ensures that it meet strict health requirements.”

Five keynote speakers addressed the conference:

  • William T Muhairwe, Managing Director, NWSC, Uganda.
  • Charles M Ainger, Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Veronica Strang, Environmental Anthropologist, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Shaun Cox, Managing Director, South East Water Ltd, Australia
  • Ken Mathews AO, Chair and CEO, National Water Commission, Australia

The presentations were complemented by over 180 platform papers and workshops under the main conference themes of:

  • Integrating Water Management
  • Making Sense of Water Policy Reform – the Last 10 Years and the Next
  • New Water Sources and Systems
  • Water and People
  • Water and Wastewater Systems and Processes

See www.ozwater10.com.au