As Level 2 water restrictions are imposed throughout Sydney, a Box Hill community will empower its residents to keep their gardens, wash their vehicles, and hose their driveways.

Through the official debut of a new recycled water treatment plant, The Gables in Box Hill is managing to preserve valuable potable water resources and maintain bountiful and ebullient greenspace in NSW’s oppressive drought conditions.

Consisting of 290 hectares in The Hills district, itself situated in Sydney’s North West Growth Corridor, The Gables is a master planned community featuring 500 residences housing more than 1,000 residents. Once development is complete, the community will feature 4,500 homes and about 12,000 residents.

Representatives from developer Celestino and Flow Systems, Australia’s premiere sustainable water utility, opened the recycled water treatment plant – the first of its kind for a greenfield site that is empowering The Gables community to lessen the use of potable water by approximately 70 percent. While those who live in the area continue to depend on Sydney Water for drinking water and bathwater, recycled water drawn from the treatment plant will enable them to complete other domestic tasks without having to comply with the same stringent water restrictions as the rest of Sydney.

Saying that the new plant symbolised the visionary thinking needed to cope with NSW’s drought conditions, Celestino chief executive John Vassallo said that, in the arena of community planning, the government and the private sector must invest in sustainable water preservation—and for the long term. When The Gables was planned five years ago, Sydney area dams were filled, so there existed little governmental interest on the subject of recycled water for the new community. But Celestino determined that the conservation of wastewater from houses was indeed important.

Landscaper Ryan Allen, who relocated to The Gables six months ago, said that the ability to irrigate and maintain a healthy garden is a big drawing point to the community.

The $16-million water treatment plant currently has a one-megalitre per day capacity, and will deliver recycled water to households in The Gables for use in watering gardens and open spaces, washing vehicles, hosing down hard surfaces, suppressing dust, running the washing machine, and flushing toilets.

The next stage of development will see a projected recycled water use of two megalitres per day.

Built to meet both present and future needs of the growing community, the water recycling plant will serve the community for years to come.

The water centre, Vassallo said, will greatly benefit the community, the wider Sydney community and the environment far into the future. The company believes that water centres are vital for western Sydney’s tomorrow and, though supported by the Government, the relevant technology pertaining to the approval and delivery of this important infrastructure should be streamlined, supported and incentivized—not to mention rendered more economic and expedient.