Recycled water

Recycled (or reclaimed) water is an integral component of sustainable water use and is strongly supported by the South Australian Government and can be used for a variety of purposes to reduce the demand on freshwater supplies.

While the use of recycled water is strongly supported, it is crucial that it is undertaken in a manner that maintains protection of public and environmental health.

What is recycled water?

Recycled water is any water generated from the following and treated to a standard that is appropriate for its intended use:

  • sewage
  • greywater
  • stormwater
  • rainwater
  • industrial
  • animal processes. 

Benefits of using recycled water

The identified benefits of recycled water use include:

  • use in applications that do not require water of drinking (potable) quality
  • reduced impact on existing freshwater resources
  • augmentation of existing water sources and the provision of an additional source of water to assist in meeting both present and future water needs
  • reduction of discharges of wastewater and stormwater into receiving waters, reducing levels of nutrients and contaminants entering waterways
  • compliance with environmental regulations and targets through more effective management of water consumption and wastewater discharges.

Approved recycled water suppliers

The source of the water that your carter supplies may affect what you can use it for. In South Australia, the two approved suppliers of recycled water are permitted to be used in residential areas. 

Water from Mawson Lakes and the Glenelg Recycled Wastewater Treatment Plant is the highest quality recycled wastewater in South Australia and is appropriate for residential non-drinking uses such as:

  • watering gardens, lawns and edible plants (must be washed before eating)
  • external washing of buildings
  • car washes
  • storage at a residential property (secondary storage)
  • other uses may be possible after consultation and approval by SA Health's Scientific Services.

Carting recycled water

Recycled water cartage is subject to approval under the Public and Environmental Health (Waste Control) Regulations to ensure that the transport and use of recycled water does not result in a risk to health. 

See the Guidelines for the carting of recycled water for detailed information, including requirements and approvals.


Those wishing to cart recycled water should contact SA Health's Scientific Services area. 

Once the application has been approved by SA Health, applicants should contact SA Water regarding collection of the recycled water.

South Australian Recycled Water Guidelines

The South Australian Recycled Water Guidelines (PDF 1.3MB) provide advice on how to obtain licences and approvals for recycled water schemes in South Australia. 

The Guidelines use phases one and two of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling, as the scientific reference for the supply, use and regulation of recycled water. The Guidelines also contain recycled water process information which was previously available in the Reclaimed Water Guidelines.

Whilst the Guidelines provide a summary of government policy, regulatory requirements and sources of information including agency contact details, they do not contain mandatory provisions and are not a prescribed code.

These Guidelines are due for a review in 2016.

Further information

For further information on recycled water, including approvals, contact SA Health's Scientific Services.