Today the Qld State Government received the Interim Report of Flood Commission of Inquiry & committed to implementing every one of the 104 recommendations.There are around 30 recommendations pertaining to the operation of dams as flood mitigation and/or potable water storages.
What is missing from the recommendations is the most obvious solution to balancing the need to mitigate floods and the need to store water for potable water supplies: indirect potable reuse of purified recycled water.
If the State Government was to close the loop (to some extent) by returning purified recycled water to Wivenhoe Dam, it could reduce the amount of water in the dam by over 50%.
The State Government spent billions of $’s to build the infrastructure required for indirect potable reuse.This infrastructure includes three world-class advanced water treatment plants—located at Bundamba, Gibson Island and Luggage Point—and more than 200 kilometres of pipeline.Most of this infrastructure is running on idle.
While recycling water provides an obvious solution to securing water supplies for SE Qld, there are added benefits. Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant has the capacity to treat the reverse osmosis concentrate, to remove phosphorus and nitrogen before being discharged into the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.
The discharge releases from the advanced water treatment plants would result in much lower nutrient levels into the environment than current discharges from existing wastewater treatment plants, IF the State Government operated these plants as they were designed.
While we should be reducing water consumption, we should also recycle the waste water that we do generate.