Drinking water quality must be first priority

Forum –

It is a relief to see, at last, that recycled water is to be a significant part of water planning for the future, something that I have now been advocating for a number of years (“Toukley desalination plant planned for 2039”, Chronicle p5 Sept 1).

This initiative should have been taken up decades ago, but better late than never.

Given that it has taken us three years of study just to reach the point where recycling is seen as a good idea, we obviously aren’t rushing at breakneck speed into actually planning for it, let alone doing something about it, but this seems to be about par for important Central Coast decisions, and, at least, we have come down on the right side of the decision, which has frequently not been the case in the past.

As for the Toukley desalination plant, it is only being talked about for 2039, and, on past performance, this means that it won’t be taken up for a decade or more, which will give us plenty of time for another revision, before we need to make a commitment on it.

Desalination is an expensive and poor option, so it should be deferred as long as possible, first, to see whether we can manage just with proper water-economy measures and, secondly, so that we can take maximum advantage of technological improvements that are sure to come on stream in the meantime.

Let us hope that the plan, when it finally emerges, will give proper attention to putting the present reticulation system into good order: reducing leaks and ensuring that good quality water is what reaches our taps should always be the first priority.

Email, Sept 4
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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