Recycling causing a large amount of stress

Recycling water has
become a big part of life throughout the world, particularly in Australia.
Australia is the driest continent on the Earth that is being inhabited by humans
(Apostolids, 2011). The population keeps growing in numbers, but the rainfall
does not change and sometimes brings droughts to the land (Apostolids, 2011).
The continent has an average runoff consisting of fifty millimeters per year
(Apostolids, 2011). There is not much rainfall there which means that recycling
water will help sustain the lifestyle of the continent for years to come.

            Australia
has a population around nineteen million people with only ten percent of them
living in the Northern tropical area (Kracman, 2001). Australia has faced severe
droughts that impact the major cities (Muston, 2012). Australia is said to use
the second highest amount of water following the United States (Shishkina,
2012). The difference between water’s availability and the amount being used is
causing a large amount of stress on an already “overstretched” water resource
(Shishkina, 2012). Recycling water in that area means that there will be more
water that is available to be used in other areas of the continent.

There have been many
different schemes that have been approved to help recycle water. The Department
of Health of Western Australia (DOWHA)  has many different rules for recycled water
schemes (Shishkina, 2012). The first wastewater scheme was approved in 1958
(Shiskina, 2012). Since then, DOHWA has approved over 150 schemes (Shiskina,
2012). The Virginia Pipeline is one of the largest schemes that got approved. This
pipeline is helping to provide water to other areas (Kracman, 2001). It distributes
water to around 250 vegetable farms in a 200 square kilometer area (Kracman,
2001). Virginia is the main area for the vegetable growing companies (Kracman,
2001). Other schemes include storm water harvesting and rooftop water tanks.
These schemes provide water that is non-potable but can be used within the
household or throughout the commercial industry (Muston, 2012). Some of these
uses include watering golf courses or parks and tree farms (Muston, 2012). In
fact, the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project is able to recycle 75 percent
of wastewater (Apostolidis, 2011). This is the largest water recycling project
in the world (Apostolidis, 2011). The result of this recycled water is a one
hundred percent water usage (Apostolidis, 2011). This project uses seven
barrier stages to allow the water to be returned to a household for potable
uses (Apostolidis, 2011).

People throughout
Australia have questioned the use of recycled water, especially when it comes
to potable uses. Some people are concerned about micro contaminants when it
comes to storm water harvesting (Muston, 2012). People thought that recycled
water posed challenges to pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals (Shishkina,
2012). A lot of the negative comments about recycled water come from it having
a negative community perception of risks (Shiskina, 2012). It is also
negatively looked at due to the “yuck factor” (Miller, 2008). Although there
were a lot of negative feelings toward recycled water, people’s views are
changing and there are a lot of rules in place for it to be safe for use.  

Although people had
negative feelings toward recycled water, the “great millennium drought” created
a sense of urgency (Apostolidis, 2011). This urgency brought a greater focus to
the uses and opportunities for recycled water (Apostolidis, 2011). Australians
have come to realize that recycled water schemes are a vital component to
reduce climate risks (Apostolidis, 2011). This realization came from looking at
the last decade and seeing how rapidly the climate shifts which these schemes
help be less of a shock (Apostolidis, 2011). Australia leads the world in the
development of guidelines for recycled water to protect the environment and
public health (Apostolidis, 2011). A lot of people believed that the community
in general did not have the knowledge to vote on the recycling of water but
were supportive of the government’s decision to implement it (Miller, 2008). Most
agencies now have updated regulations that allow the use of decentralized
solutions including grey water recycling and the use of rainwater tanks
(Apostolidis, 2011). DOHWA approved schemes follow the requirements that are
outlined under the National Water Quality
Management Strategy: Guidelines for Sewage Systems- Use of Reclaimed Water
(Shishkina, 2012). There are also many other national and state guidelines that
ensure the management of health and environmental risks of using recycled water
(Shishkina, 2012). Not only are there multiple schemes for recycled water for
non- potable uses, but in Queensland, the decision was made to introduce the
recycled water into their drinking supply (Miller, 2008). Recycled water is
becoming very important to Australia for multiple uses through the many
different schemes that have been put into place.

When it comes to using
recycled water, there are many non-potable and some potable uses. Australia has
many reasons to recycle water, including the droughts it endures. Different
schemes that have been put into place to help the depleted water source. Some
people disagree with the use of recycled water for potable uses, but at the end
of the day, there are multiple rules and regulations for recycled water. These
rules and regulations make sure that water is safe and available for all
reasons. Some people may not agree with the use of recycled water for potable
uses, but they agree to the non- potable uses such as washing cars or for
irrigation. No matter the side of the spectrum, recycled water is helping to
eliminate the stress on the water resources in Australia.