Detailed business case to investigate recycled water solution for Tamworth

24 October 2023

The Australian Government has committed $3 million to co-fund a detailed business case to investigate building NSW’s first regional industrial advanced water treatment plant.

Tamworth is a large regional centre in New South Wales that is vulnerable to the impacts of drought and climate change.

Landscape view of bush and green and gold grassland, close up of leafy trees and a walking path in the foreground.

The detailed business case will investigate the construction of an advanced water treatment plant in Tamworth, NSW.

The treatment plant, if built, would help protect Tamworth’s long term water security by recycling up to 12 megalitres (ML) of wastewater a day. The wastewater would come from the large commercial and industrial users in Tamworth. Currently, the 4 major food processors use 25% of the towns treated water supply.

The treated recycled wastewater would only be used for industrial purposes, not for residential water supply.

This recycled water solution would allow industry to reuse their existing wastewater and it is estimated that up to 95% of their water could be recycled. It could also:

  • reduce demand on local drinking and community water supplies by up to 25%
  • assist with increasing industrial demand  
  • facilitate future industrial expansion to support regional economic growth.  

The Murray–Darling Basin system would also be supported through the increased efficiency and reuse of water taking pressure off the already stressed systems. It may also see improvements to surrounding waterway health by reducing salinity levels in wastewater. 
The proposed plant would use reverse osmosis technology to treat industrial wastewater. It would use membrane technology to produce highly treated recycled water, removing chemicals and sodium, before being sent back to these businesses for re-use. 

This $6 million detailed business case is jointly funded by:

  • the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund ($3 million)
  • the New Southern Wales Government ($3 million).

This detailed business case will also investigate potential costs and benefits to harvest phosphorus from wastewater during the treatment process. This would further support a circular economy approach as phosphorus is an essential, yet limited resource. 

Work on the project has already commenced and is expected to be completed by early 2026.