Using recycled water

If you have recycled water, you need to know how to use it.

A number of irrigation sprinklers spraying water on pasture land

Recycled water provides valuable nutrients for agricultural land.


Lady watering garden with recycled watr showing purple tap

Recycled water garden taps are purple.

Recycled water comes to you through purple pipes that are completely separate from the drinking water system.

You have recycled water at your property if:

  • you have a second water meter that's purple
  • your garden tap is purple. It should have this sign near it: 'Recycled water - do not drink'
  • you have recycled water charges on your bill.

Some new homes may have a recycled water connection in the laundry for the washing machine. The tap or connection will be clearly marked.

Recycled water that comes from purple pipes is not suitable for drinking.

How to use recycled water

It's great for:

  • watering lawns and gardens, including fruit and vegetables 
  • flushing toilets
  • washing cars
  • filling ornamental ponds
  • fighting fires
  • washing laundry in a washing machine (you need the right plumbing for this).

Don’t use it for:

  • drinking or cooking
  • bathing
  • filling swimming pools and playing under sprinklers
  • cleaning inside the house
  • filling evaporative coolers.

Rouse Hill Water Recycling Scheme

Gates to Rouse Hill Public School

We've supplied recycled water to the Rouse Hill area since 2001.

Our Rouse Hill Water Recycling Plant provides recycled water to more than 30,000 properties in Sydney's North-West.

The area serviced with recycled water includes all or parts of Acacia Gardens, Beaumont Hills, Castle Hill, Glenwood, Kellyville, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill, Stanhope Gardens, The Ponds and Rouse Hill.

We’re proud to say this is the largest and one of the oldest residential water recycling schemes in the world. Another recycled water scheme built for the Sydney Olympics started to operate just a few months earlier than the Rouse Hill project.  

Learn more about using recycled water in the Rouse Hill area:

Hoxton Park Water Recycling Scheme

Front of 2-storey houses with gardens

Using recycled water around the home helps to save valuable drinking water.

Hoxton Park Water Recycling Scheme is designed to provide recycled water to parts of new residential suburbs and industrial areas in Sydney’s south-west including:

We'll supply recycled water to homes and industrial properties in:

  • Bardia
  • Edmondson Park
  • Elizabeth Hills
  • Freemans Ridge
  • Ingleburn Gardens
  • Len Waters Industrial Estate
  • Middleton Grange
  • Panorama Estate
  • Parkbridge Estate
  • Yarrunga Industrial Estate.

Glenfield Water Recycling Plant will produce highly treated recycled water, which will be delivered by dedicated pipelines to homes and businesses within the boundary of the Hoxton Park Recycled Water Scheme.

We plan to start operating this scheme when there are enough properties built and connected to our recycled water pipes.

About 5,000 properties have connected to the Hoxton Park scheme so far. We need another 1,500 homes to connect so we can ensure there's enough demand for us to efficiently operate the scheme and produce recycled water that meets the Australian Guidelines for Water RecyclingThis external link will open in a new window.

Only properties with recycled water meters and fittings will receive recycled water. Customers in these areas will continue to receive drinking water through their recycled water pipes until there's enough demand for recycled water. We'll notify residents before we start supplying recycled water to their property.

For more information call us on 13 20 92.

Using recycled water for industrial processes helps save large amounts of drinking water. Recycled water is used in industry for:

  • cooling towers
  • boilers
  • some manufacturing processes
  • dust suppression.
Our map shows where these customers are located.  

Wollongong Recycled Water Scheme

Large machinery at BlueScpe Steel with water streaming onto conveyor belt

BlueScope Steel in Wollongong uses recycled water.

Our water recycling plant at Wollongong, which has been operating since 2006, uses micro-filtration and reverse osmosis membrane processes to produce very high quality recycled water. The water is suitable for a range of industrial purposes.

We also produce tertiary treated recycled water at this plant.

We supply:

  • up to seven billion litres of high quality recycled water to BlueScope Steel from Wollongong Water Recycling Plant each year
  • recycled water to Port Kembla Coal Terminal. The coal terminal started using recycled water in 2009. It uses about 450 million litres of recycled water each year, reducing fresh water use by over 70%. 

Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme

Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme is a private sector project that began operating in October 2011. The scheme supplies over three billion litres of recycled water a year to major industrial customers and a racecourse in the Rosehill and Smithfield areas.
AquaNet Sydney (a division of Jemena) built, owns and operates the scheme. It works in partnership with Veolia Water and is supported by Sydney Water.

On-site recycling at wastewater treatment plants

Our wastewater treatment plants are among the largest users of recycled water.

About 96% of our plants' water needs are met with recycled water - that's about 15 billion litres of recycled water a year.

Recycled water is a reliable alternative water supply for irrigation. 
Using recycled water for irrigation provides valuable nutrients for plant growth, reducing the need to use chemical fertilisers. The appropriate use of recycled water can also reduce long term costs of maintaining sportsfield and racetrack surfaces. 

Recycled water irrigation schemes

The amount of recycled water used by customers varies, depending on the weather and other factors. We supply recycled water for irrigation to many different types of customers.

Parks and sports fields

  • Penrith City Council  
  • University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury 
  • Wollongong City Council 
  • Camden Council 

Golf courses

  • Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club
  • Castle Hill Country Club 
  • Dunheved Golf Club 
  • Kiama Golf Club 
  • Liverpool Golf Club 
  • Richmond Golf Club
  • Wollongong Golf Club 

Farms and racecourses

  • Carlton Farm, Picton
    Football goal posts next to sprinklers spraying water on field

    Recycled water helps keep grass green and healthy.

  • Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle
  • Warwick Farm Racecourse

Our map shows where these customers are located.

St Marys Water Recycling Plant

Water gushing out of four round metal pipes

Extensive monitoring ensures the plant meets NSW Health water quality requirements.

This is Sydney’s largest water recycling project, producing over 10 billion litres of very high quality water a year.  As far as we know, it’s the only plant in the world producing recycled water on this scale and quality for river health. 

This project:

  • helps reduce nutrient levels in the river
  • boosts river flows, especially in dry times
  • saves drinking water – it replaces some of the flows that would otherwise have been released from Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s major water supply.

The project links three major water recycling plants and sends water into the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system at Penrith.

Recycled water from the St Marys plant is similar in quality to distilled water. 

How it works

At the St Marys plant, we treat over 35 million litres of wastewater each day from homes and businesses across western Sydney.

There are two types of recycled water produced at the St Marys complex – reverse osmosis water for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River and tertiary treated water for agriculture and irrigation.

As well as screening, biological treatment and filtering, the recycled water is pumped through extremely fine membranes, then disinfected.

Look at the  diagram to learn more about the process.

See it yourself

If you're interested in taking a free tour of the St Marys Water Recycling Plant, email or call us on 1800 724 650.

People in safety vests looking at large pipes

The plant uses ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis technology to produce very high quality recycled water.