Providing recycled water for South East Farmers

In by SEM

Providing recycled water for South East Farmers

Why providing recycled water for South East farmers is necessary:

The food and fibre industry is a critical part of South East Melbourne’s economy, with more than 7,000 fulltime jobs and about $5 billion in produce every year. It’s also one of the region’s most vulnerable industries.

With increasing demand on supply and climate change threatening to permanently affect the stability of Melbourne’s water resources, South East Melbourne’s food and fibre industry will increasingly depend on more efficient water use and alternative water sources.

Between 1998 and 2002, during the millennium drought, about 35,000 jobs were lost in the food and agricultural industries in Victoria as production ceased. Many businesses went under but some were able to survive by using recycled water.

Currently, South East Melbourne doesn’t have a water recycling scheme that’s able to support a large number of farms when the next drought hits.

The Eastern Treatment Plant produces high quality recycled water, known as Class A, which is more than suitable for agricultural use. Opportunities exist to connect farmers to recycled water, but getting the water to the agricultural land where it’s needed requires new infrastructure.

Working towards improving access to recycled water for farms in the south east will deliver a secure water future for the region, safeguarding thousands of jobs and the future of the regional economy.

Key ask: Complete a business case for the upgrade of the Pakenham Water Recycling Scheme and fund Stage 1 of the Somerville Tyabb project

SEM is calling on the Government to provide funding support for two projects that will improve access to recycled water for farmers in the south east, this includes:

  • $2.3 million in funding support for Stage 1 of the Somerville Tyabb project, including an irrigation pipe from the Eastern Treatment Plant at Carrum Downs to supply Class A recycled water to farmers.
  • $150,000 for a business case into the Pakenham water recycling project, which would see the Pakenham plant upgraded to make it possible to produce Class A water.

If you want to know how you can help SEM advocate for this project, please contact us on