Waste not, want not,  is water mantra
Attitudes to water recycling must change, Water Corporation boss Sue Murphy says. Picture:Bill Hatto/The West Australian

The boss of the Water Corporation has called for a major change in people's attitudes to recycling, saying they should remove the word disposal from their vocabulary.

Sue Murphy urged the rethink at an economics forum today, when she claimed the corporation's trail blazing decision to recycle waste water made overwhelming sense.

According to Mrs Murphy, there was still a prevailing view that waste products were only fit to be "disposed" but this needed to change.

She said such an attitude ignored the economic benefits of recycling and pointed to several projects the Water Corporation was undertaking to illustrate her case.

The first involved the utility's landmark decision to recycle highly treated sewage by pumping it into Perth's aquifers to boost drinking supplies.

She said the Water Corp was developing other recycling solutions such as making its sewage treatment plants "self sustaining" in their energy needs by using the gas the waste produced to generate power.

"Dispose is actually the interesting word because you go back 10 years and that was what was happening," Mrs Murphy said.

"The only use for that water was to be disposed of, usually through an ocean outfall.

"The future requires us to close that loop.

"We can longer have a value chain - we have to have a value circle.

"We have to take the word dispose out of our vocabulary and turn it into recycle because otherwise we're never going to have a safe and sustainable water supply that we need for the long term.

"But it's not just water you can recycle."

The comments came as the State Government yesterday unveiled a $300 million water treatment plants at Mundaring that is the first to have been funded and delivered by the private sector.

Build by the Helena Water consortium, which is made up of Spain's ACCIONA Agua, TRILITY and the UK-based Lloyds Bank, the plant will be leased to the Government for a fee for 35 years before ownership is transferred to the State.

Water Minister Mia Davies said the plant, which will provide higher quality water to the Goldfields and Wheatbelt along with increased capacity, was a breakthrough for private sector involvement in WA's public drinking water industry.

"The private partners brought a wide range of experience in delivering water projects around the world, and an extensive track record in developing and operating (public private partnerships)," Ms Davies said.

The West Australian

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