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August 16, 2009

Recycled drinking water 'a tough sell'

Western Australia's Opposition says the Government is going to have a tough job convincing Perth residents to drink recycled water.

The Water Minister, Graham Jacobs, has released a strategy to address the rapid decline of water levels in the Gnangara system, which provides 60 per cent of Perth's water supply.

If the recommendations are adopted, the groundwater system will be recharged with recycled water.

Dr Jacobs says West Australians need to get used to the idea, despite the 'yuck' factor.

The Opposition's spokesman for water, Fran Logan, supports the strategy, but says he is concerned about the public response to the longer-term recommendation to source water directly from waste water treatment plants.

"With respect to taking waste water directly from a sewerage works and then putting them through a recycling plant and turning it into straight drinking water, I think the Minister is going to have a big job on his hands convincing West Australians that's fine and that's ok to drink," he said.

Mr Logan says more money needs to be spent expanding the aquifer.

"The Minister has allowed his portfolio to be slashed," he said.

"If he [Graham Jacobs] stood up for his portfolio, he might be able to get some of that critical money poured into the infrastructure that we need to manage the state's water resources and ensure our water security into the future, particularly as we go into increasingly drying years."

The draft strategy is open for public comment for two months.

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