Recycled Water

What we are asking

  • Help the Mornington Peninsula secure an alternative and high-quality water supply for agriculture and other uses.
  • $50 million recycled water supply infrastructure upgrades for the Tyabb-Somerville Recycled Scheme.

Our Unique Environment

The Mornington Peninsula is 70% Green Wedge and rural land.

Our fertile maritime climate and soil types are critical to our food growing capability and Victoria’s food security.

Our region yields the second highest value food production, per hectare, in Victoria.

Currently, the Eastern Treatment Plant releases about 370 million litres per day of high-quality recycled water at Gunnamatta. This is equivalent to filling the MCG every 4 days.

This volume is anticipated to increase to 474 million litres per day by 2050.

Tapping into this recycled water would greatly increase our resilience to climate change by allowing food production to continue through dryer months and even drought.

Recycled water could also be used to grow the local nursery and garden industry.

Why this is important

The Peninsula is an agricultural region and integral to Melbourne’s food bowl, producing large volumes of high-quality fruit and vegetables year-round.

Across the Mornington Peninsula, agriculture:

  • contributes $225 million in gross value
  • represents 11% of the local economy
  • provides 5,300 jobs, or 12.5% of total employment.

The sustainability of our $1.3 billion agriculture, food and beverage sector is under threat from lack of access to water.

The discharge of Class A recycled water through the South-Eastern Outfall is a lost opportunity to:

  • deliver a reliable water supply.
  • reduces reliance on drinking water.
  • increases our resilience to climate change, including drought.
  • supports sustainable farming and food supply.
  • promote economic growth in the agricultural sector.
  • reduce the impact of the outflow water on sensitive marine environments - currently released into Bass Straight.

The benefits – supporting evidence and strategies

A Business Case and Investment Logic Map was developed by Frontier Economics for the Tyabb-Somerville Recycled Scheme in 2020, demonstrating the economic value of the scheme. The viability of the project is supported by the Victorian Integrated Water Management Forums, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, and South East Water.

The Mornington Peninsula is rich in scale and diversity of food systems, emphasised by quality and seasonality. Regions suited to agriculture, close to markets and with reliable water supply are becoming increasingly valuable.

There is significant interest and support for the benefits of recycled water from industry groups including:

  • Mornington Peninsula Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Branch
  • AusVeg Victoria
  • Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria
  • Mornington Peninsula Wine
  • Food Economy and Regenerative Agriculture Taskforce
  • Tourism Board MPRTB
  • Hinterland Tourism Association
  • Red Hill Agriculture and Horticulture Society.

Environmental groups include:

  • Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network
  • Westernport Catchment Landcare Network
  • Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Assoc
  • Clean Ocean Foundation
  • Surf Riders Association
  • Save Tootgarook Swamp.

Access to recycled water will grow the economic potential of our agriculture sector. The Tyabb-Somerville region is critical to supplying Melbourne with vegetables and nursery plants.

The benefits will extend beyond farms. Recycled water infrastructure will supply water to our parks, sport and recreation ovals and supply our emergency services with water during bushfire season.