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Australian guidelines for water recycling

​​​​​​​​​Increasing climate variability and population levels mean that many areas of Australia are facing a serious water shortage. Alternative sources of water are becoming more important as water restrictions become more widespread.

One option for an alternative water source is to re-use water such as storm water, greywater and treated sewage. Through a combination of careful management, appropriate use, and education of water users, these types of water can be recycled safely and sustainably.

The Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling are designed to provide an authoritative reference that can be used to support beneficial and sustainable recycling of waters generated from sewage, grey water and stormwater.

The guidelines series were produced in two phases.

Phase 1 established a complete set of guidance for the management of health and environmental risks associated with recycled water.

Phase 2 extended on specific aspects of the Phase 1 guidance.

These guidelines are part of the National Water Quality Management Strategy.

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Managing health and environmental risks (Phase 1)

Publication details

Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council & the Australian Health Ministers' Conference, 2006

The full version of Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling was developed in phase 1 and provides:

  • generic framework for management of recycled water quality and use that applies to all combinations of recycled water and end uses
  • specific guidance on the use of treated sewage and greywater for purposes other than drinking and environmental flows.

The overview document provides an introduction for anyone interested in recycling water. The aim is to give readers an idea of the scope and content of the full guidelines, and highlight some of the main issues in water recycling.

Anyone involved in water recycling should consult the full document and should not rely on the overview document.

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DocumentPagesFile size
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1) — Full document DOCX4153.39 MB
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1) — Full document PDF415 2.11 ​​MB
Overview of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks 2006 DOCX20452 KB
Overview of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks 2006 PDF202.51 MB

This publication is not owned by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and may not meet accessibility requirements. If you need an accessible version, please contact the author. For more information, visit web accessibility.

Augmentation of drinking water supplies (Phase 2)

Publication details

Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council & the Australian Health Ministers' Conference, 2008

Guidelines for the Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies extends the guidance given in the Phase 1 guidelines on the planned use of recycled water (treated sewage and stormwater) to augment drinking water supplies. They focus on the source of water, initial treatment processes and blending of recycled water with drinking water sources.

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DocumentPagesFile size
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies DOCX1741.09 MB
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies PDF174 940 KB

This publication is not owned by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and may not meet accessibility requirements. If you need an accessible version, please contact the author. For more information, visit web accessibility.

Managed aquifer recharge (Phase 2)

Publication details

Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council & the Australian Health Ministers' Conference, 2009

Guidelines for Managed Aquifer Recharge extends the guidance given in the Phase 1 guidelines. The primary focus of this phase 2 document is:

  • protection of aquifers
  • quality of the recovered water in managed aquifer recharge projects using all water sources, including recycled waters.

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DocumentPagesFile size
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Managed Aquifer Recharge DOCX2522.14 MB
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Managed Aquifer Recharge PDF252 1.60 MB

This publication is not owned by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and may not meet accessibility requirements. If you need an accessible version, please contact the author. For more information, visit web accessibility.

Stormwater harvesting and reuse (Phase 2)

Publication details

Environment Protection and Heritage Council, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council & the National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009

Guidelines for Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse extends the guidance given in the Phase 1 guidelines to cover the harvesting and reuse of stormwater. The primary purpose of this document is to provide guidance on managing potential public health and environmental risks associated with the reuse of:

  • roofwater collected from residential buildings (including industrial buildings)
  • urban stormwater from sewered areas, including stormwater collected from drains, waterways and wetlands.

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DocumentPagesFile size
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse DOCX1402.01 MB
Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 2) — Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse PDF140 972 KB​

This publication is not owned by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and may not meet accessibility requirements. If you need an accessible version, please contact the author. For more information, visit web accessibility.

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