This article explores the potential for legal measures in Western Australia to facilitate opportunities and impose obligations on land developers to design and construct large-scale residential developments with a capacity for wastewater recycling and stormwater capture. The development of these alternatives sources of water presents one sustainable long-term option for significantly reducing potable water use in residential communities where potable water has, historically, been used for all water consumption purposes, including irrigation of private gardens and public open space. The reduction in expensive potable water use could be achieved by ensuring that all residential effluent (used potable water) is recycled for non-potable use within the development areas, and that stormwater run-off is captured for irrigation of parks and open space and natural recharge of the underlying superficial aquifer. This article reviews three current developments that utilise wastewater recycling and stormwater capture principles to examine the extent to which Western Australia's existing legal framework achieves these outcomes. In particular, it analyses the provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA), and the rights to access alternative water sources and to distribute them for consumptive uses. Finally, the article suggests reforms to mandate and facilitate the inclusion of wastewater recycling and stormwater capture systems in all new residential developments.


Click to view journal article

Last updated: 14th Jun 2016