Urban Water Cycle

The water cycle is the term given to the continuous movement of rain falling and flowing into our waterways and evaporating into the atmosphere. The urban water cycle is the way water is collected, used and managed. Ballina Shire Council manages the urban water cycle for the people living in the Ballina, Alstonville, Wollongbar, Wardell and Lennox Head areas. This includes our drinking water, wastewater (sewage) and recycled water. 

In managing the urban water cycle, we aim to preserve our precious drinking water and minimise our impact on the enviroment. Most of the water we drink comes from Rocky Creek dam, Emigrant Creek dam and Marom Creek weir. During prolonged dry periods, Wilsons River and groundwater supplies are also available. Water is piped to treatment plants where impurities are removed and it is made safe for drinking and household use.Water used for flushing toilets and household water that goes down the drain is called wastewater. 

All wastewater is sent to sewerage treatment plants where it is treated and recycled. Recycled water is available to homes and businesses with dual reticulation.  It is used to flush toilets, wash clothes, water gardens and wash cars and pathways. Recycled water can also be used to irrigate public facilities such as sporting fields.Some treated wastewater is released back into the environment.

Recycled water plays a key role in our urban water cycle, in recent years we have invested $85 million in upgrading the Ballina and Lennox Head Wastewater Treatment Plants.
This means:

  • Eventually 7,200 homes in the shire will be connected to dual reticulation.  Each home will have two sets of water pipes:  blue for drinking water and purple for recycled water
  • Recycled water can be used for flushing toilets, washing clothes, on gardens and for washing cars and pathways
  • Recycled water can be used by businesses
  • Recycled water can be used to water crops and irrigate sporting fields
  • Homes with dual reticulation will reduce their use of drinking water by up to 40%