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First funding made by Australian water-reuse centre

Australia’s Water Recycling Centre of Excellence (WRCE) has awarded $200,000 in funding to its first project – the development of a National Validation Framework for water reuse.

The framework will provide a consistent and efficient approach to validation, which does not compromise the safety of the water-reuse process.

Announcing the funding, the parliamentary secretary for sustainability and urban water, Senator Don Farrell, said, "Water recycling is an important part of a secure, diversified water supply and this project will help ensure water is safe and of consistently high-quality across Australia."

Water-reuse schemes must run tests to ensure – or validate – that their systems work correctly and efficiently to produce water that meets the requirements in the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling.

WRCE CEO Mark O’Donohue said engagement with utilities, regulators and researchers during development of the centre’s research strategy identified the need for a national framework as a high priority for the water industry.

"Developing a National Validation Framework is a key component of the centre’s research agenda, which is why this project is the first to be funded," O’Donohue said. "Australia has national guidelines that set recycled water quality requirements. However, each state and territory has its own validation approach, often with different criteria and testing requirements."

Led by Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA), the project team will work with industry, regulators and researchers to develop the framework. WQRA’s acting CEO, Michele Akeroyd, said the team was excited to take the lead on such a significant project.

"We have a fantastic project team, drawing the best people from over 20 organisations including the CSIRO and leading universities, state regulators, and utilities and manufacturers involved in water recycling across the country," Dr Akeroyd said.

Additional financial support will come from Dow Chemical and the Water Services Association of Australia. 

The first stage of establishing the framework will begin in April. It will result in a Roadmap Report that identifies priority investment required to fill gaps in knowledge about validation, sets out mechanisms for industry, regulators and researchers to jointly deliver a framework, and identifies any additional resources required.

Once the roadmap report is accepted, the WRCE will allocate up to $3 million in further funding for establishment of the National Validation Framework.

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