Supplying highly treated reclaimed water directly to a drinking water distribution system is known internationally as direct potable reuse (DPR). This differs from more established approaches to potable water recycling by the absence of a so-called “environmental buffer”, a practice referred to as indirect potable reuse (IPR).
IPR involves the storage of treated reclaimed water in environmental buffers – such as a river, lake, reservoir or aquifer – prior to it being recovered through drinking water treatment plants and distributed to consumers.
To ATSE’s knowledge at the time of publication, there are no currently operating DPR projects in Australia and no specific proposals for their development. However, ongoing interest in sustainable water supply systems, advances in the science and engineering of water treatment, and recent international developments in DPR have prompted consideration of DPR as a potential future component of Australian water supply systems.