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Recycled water (Werribee)


Electrical Conductivity (salinity) Shandy Mix

Electrical conductivity (ec) is measured in microsiemens per centimeter (µS/cm)
23 January 2019

Introduction of the Recycled Water scheme

The Werribee Irrigation District is an important vegetable growing area on the western fringe of metropolitan Melbourne. Using water from the Werribee River, the aquifer below and the recycled water scheme, over 400 growers produce lettuces, broccoli, cabbages and many other vegetables for local consumption and export.

During 1994 the then Victorian Minister for Water, John Thwaites, announced the Werribee Irrigation District Recycled Water Scheme would be established. The scheme was designed to assist in overcoming water shortages due to drought and to secure water for greater production in the future.

During 2004 grower representatives, project partners (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Melbourne Water and Southern Rural Water), and regulators (EPA Victoria and Department of Health) took up the challenge of bringing the scheme to fruition.

More than $20 million was invested in additional water treatment at Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant, a connecting pipeline into the Werribee Irrigation District, environmental investigations and approvals, and the operating arrangements for the scheme. Growers received the first deliveries of Class A recycled waterunder the scheme in January 2005.


Class A Recycled Water

The Class A recycled water supplied by Melbourne Water is delivered to participating growers by Southern Rural Water through its existing irrigation channels and pipelines.

The recycled water is treated through the standard wastewater treatment system and two additional disinfection systems – chlorination and ultra violet light. The Department of Health has classified the Class A recycled water as safe for irrigation of food crops – including those eaten raw. Victorian standards for Class A Recycled Water comply with strict national guidelines set by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

They are also consistent with standards in the United States, and exceed the international standards for the use of recycled water set by the World Health Organisation. The Department of Health requires an extensive verification process to ensure Class A quality can be guaranteed, and has endorsed Melbourne Water’s recycled water as Class A. EPA Victoria has approved the Environment Improvement Plan for the scheme, which ensures good environmental practice under the Scheme.

Melbourne Water is working to reduce the salinity of the recycled water, which at present needs to be mixed with water from the Werribee River to meet the requirements of the Environment Improvement Plan.


Using recycled water for irrigation

The recycled water used in this scheme would otherwise be discharged into Port Phillip Bay.

This project is one of the largest recycled water schemes in Australia.


Western treatment plant recycled water quality

Click the links below to access the “western treatment plant recycled water quality – Post disinfection” report for the corresponding month.


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WaterMatch - online trading

Watermatch is a free online service, designed to help people trade water.

Once you have registered, you can advertise to buy or sell water.

Depending on the water that you wish to trade, choose from the Groundwater, Surface Water (rivers and creeks) and Irrigation District forum.

Select a new topic to create your ad. Your ad can be to buy or sell water, and must describe the source of your water, quantity of water you want to buy or sell, how long you want to trade for and your contact details. If you are happy to put a buying or selling price, this can be included here too.

If you want to respond to an ad, you can use the email link or contact the advertiser direct.

It is an online trading forum, and can also be used by people who are not on the internet, with help from our staff.

Watermatch allows you to register your interest in either buying or selling water in southern Victoria.

  • the Macalister, Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District
  • Groundwater systems in southern Victoria
  • Rivers and creek systems in southern Victoria (other than those managed by Melbourne Water around the Port Phillip region).

Who can use it?
Anyone can use watermatch. You may be an existing licence holder who wants to sell water, or buy more water.

You may not currently have a licence, but you want to buy water in the region.

How does it work?

  • click here to enter Watermatch
  • register as a user (a very simple process)
  • go to the system or district you are interested in and check current entries
  • add in any entry for any water you want to sell or buy

What information should I include in my ad?

  • If you are wanting to buy or sell
  • your name
  • phone number
  • name of river, creek, groundwater management area or irrigation district
  • how much water is to be traded
  • If the trade is temporary or permanent
  • term of the trade (Maximum term is 5 years)

Things you need to know
We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service. If you would like to provide feedack or suggested improvements please click here.

it's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Trading applications must be submitted to Southern Rural Water and approval granted before water is taken. A water transfer application form can be downloaded from our application page.

If you want to trade upstream, please speak with one of our Assessment Officers prior to submitting an application.

To check if a buyer or seller can trade with you, call us on 1300 139 510 and ask to speak to an Assessment Officer.

Not a water broker

It's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Click here to download our Fact Sheet