Recycled water services

We're using recycled water as one approach in the long-term management of our water supply and the reliable delivery of water and wastewater services to the Lower Hunter region.

Recycled water offers a number of advantages for end-users. Recycled water supply:

  • is largely unaffected by weather and can be accessed all year round even in drought conditions
  • contains valuable nutrients and reduces the need for fertiliser when used to irrigate
  • is generally cheaper than drinking water
  • reduces the amount of treated discharge from wastewater treatment works into our waterways
  • reduces demand on our drinking water supply.
There are currently 15 recycled water schemes linked to our system in the Lower Hunter which produce a total of around six billion litres of recycled water each year.

The main uses of recycled water in the Lower Hunter are open space, industrial, agricultural and residential.

Open space

Recycled water is used for open space irrigation schemes across the Hunter, including several golf courses and a TAFE college. These schemes use around 500ML of recycled water per year to help keep grass green and healthy.


Recycled water is used for some manufacturing processes, cooling towers and boilers. Providing recycled water to industrial customers is an excellent way to save drinking water supplies while reducing the amount of effluent discharged to local waterways.


Supply of both drinking and recycled water is known as dual reticulation. We operate two dual reticulation schemes that provide recycled water for garden and toilet flushing in housing estates in Gillieston Heights, Chisholm and Thornton North. We’re also investigating dual reticulation schemes for other new residential developments.


Agriculture is the largest user of recycled water in Australia with the majority of it used for the irrigation of pastures and fodder crops. Recycled water is used at a number of farms around the Lower Hunter as well as for several reuse initiatives by us at Karuah and Clarence Town.

Reuse Initiatives

Reuse initiatives developed by Hunter Water include two woodlots, the Karuah Effluent Reuse Enterprise (KERE) and the Clarence Town Irrigation Scheme.

Karuah Effluent Reuse Enterprise (KERE)

The KERE was designed to minimise discharge from the Karuah Wastewater Treatment Works.Treated effluent from the treatment works is stored within a 160ML dam where it is used to irrigate 36 hectares of pasture. This pasture is cultivated, cropped, ensilage and sold as feed for livestock.

Clarence Town Irrigation Scheme

The Clarence Town Irrigation Scheme is an integral part of the Clarence Town Wastewater Treatment Works, which is designed to reuse all the product effluent in dry years. The final recycled water product is then stored in a 34ML dam before being pumped to the reuse area, which consists of 18 hectares of pasture irrigated by a system of irrigators. Commercial fodder crops are cultivated on the irrigated area.