As NSW continues to be crippled by severe drought, The Gables in Box
Hill is demonstrating how it’s possible to save precious potable water
resources and keep residents’ lawns lush and green.
With Level 2 water restrictions introduced across Sydney on Tuesday, representatives
from developer Celestino and Flow Systems, Australia's first sustainable water
utility, officially opened a recycled water treatment plant servicing The
Gables’ current and future community.
Celestino chief executive, John Vassallo, said the new plant is a prime
example of the kind of visionary thinking that is necessary to adapt to the
harsh drought conditions experienced across NSW.
“It critical when we are planning new communities that both Government
and the private sector make sustainable long term investments in water, so that
we have sufficient water in good times and bad.
When we planned The Gables some five years ago Sydney’s dams were full,
so there was very little interest in Government to make an investment in
recycled water for our new community. Celestino took the view at that time that
it simply wasn’t good enough to waste drinking (potable) water and at the same
time do nothing to conserve waste water from homes.
This water centre shows what is possible and it will deliver benefits to
our community, the broader Sydney community and the environment for many years
We believe such water centres are the future for western Sydney and
although they are generally supported by Government there are many areas
where the approval and delivery or such vital infrastructure could be
streamlined, supported and incentivised to make the process faster, cheaper and
more certain, so that recycled water becomes the norm rather than the
exception. It’s a no brainer.”
The recycled water plant – the first for a greenfield site – is helping
the community take significant demand off the potable water system, cutting use
by about 70 per cent.
While residents will rely on Sydney Water for drinking water and
bathing, the plant will mean they aren’t subject to the same tough water
restrictions as others all over Sydney. Residents can still wash their cars,
hose down the driveway and maintain their gardens – helping to keep The Gables an
oasis of green.
Ryan Allen, who moved into The Gables six months ago, says being able to
keep your garden not just alive, but thriving, is really important for anyone
who’s proud of their home.
“As a landscaper, I understand the difference a healthy garden can make
to a home. We are all aware of how dry everything is, so being able to irrigate
without guilt or being fined is a huge plus for The Gables.”
The $16M plant, which has taken two years to construct, currently has a
1-megalitre per day capacity, which is approximately half an Olympic swimming
It will deliver recycled water to households in The Gables for use in:
gardens and open spaces
· hosing down hard surfaces
· suppressing dust
· running the washing machine; and
Stage two of the plant is planned to be operational by 2023/24 with
projected recycled water use of 2 megalitres per day.
The Gables currently has over 500 homes occupied with a residential
population of more than 1,000. At completion, there will be 4,500 homes and
around 12,000 residents. The expansion plans for the plant mean the community will continue to be
serviced by recycled water as the population grows.
“It is critical that we invest in new infrastructure to help Sydney manage its water use for the long term and Celestino is delighted to be working with Flow Systems to do this,” says Mr Vassallo.