20 million litres every year

By MARY MANN

A MOVE by Ballina Shire Council to save an extra 20 million litres of water a year has left community members like Brad O'Connell very happy.

The council has received a $50,000 government grant to help it reuse treated blackwater to irrigate Fripp Oval, home of the Ballina Bears Cricket Club.

The initiative will help the council reach its goal of recycling 80 per cent of its water by 2013.

Mr O'Connell, president of the Ballina and Lennox Head Surfrider Foundation, said any move to save water was fantastic.

"Our biggest concern is keeping as much treated effluent out of the waterways as possible," Mr O'Connell said.

"And this helps to do that, which is great."

The irrigation system will save drinking water and reduce the need to discharge treated wastewater into the ocean.

It will cost $102,000 to install, $50,000 of which the council has received under the Australian Government's Community Water Grant.

Similar systems are already in place at Ballina's Saunders Oval and the Chickiba Playing Fields.

Ballina mayor Phillip Silver said this was an important step forward.

"We used to use very valuable drinking water to irrigate the oval, but now we will be using recycled water," he said.

"This is the way forward for all of our water issues. I am very pleased."

The council is one of 32 local schools and community groups who recently received a share of $1.4 million in government grants for initiatives which will save more than 67 million litres of water each year.

Council adopted its Reclaimed Water Reuse Master Plan in September this year.

A key part of the master plan is the irrigation of open spaces and playing fields.

It is expected the works at Fripp Oval will be completed during the next 12 months.



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