How farmer is benefiting from using recycled water on crops
A HAY farmer says using recycled water has allowed him to droughtproof his property and brought new life to the land his father purchased more than 60 years ago.
It's nothing to turn your nose up at and it has worked wonders for Darren Brimblecombe and his wife Leanne.
The Brimblecombes grow lucerne and hay for cattle and horses on his Rosewood property, which his father bought in 1959.
Class C water can be used on grain or fodder crops but not produce fit for human consumption.
"It's just getting wasted if you dump it into the creek and it runs out to the ocean," he said.
"It's got nutrient in it too from the sewerage system which is very important to recycle.
"Phosphate is getting scarcer and scarcer."
They have been piping in the recycled water for their 121ha property since November last year, which is supplied by Urban Utilities.
Pumping that water into his previously empty dam has made a huge difference to local wildlife.
"They used to put it in the creek and then we used to pull it out of the creek with our irrigation licence," he said.
"We've been using (recycled water) for 10 or 15 years.
"It's an extra way to droughtproof our property. We have got underground water as well that we use and we're able to mix the underground water with the sewerage water and it makes it better again.
"We're pumping it in the dam. The wildlife is a big improvement. The dam is normally empty of water but we've got water in it now.
"You've got little sandpipers that live on the dam that go into the lucerne and eat the insects.
"You've got spoonbills walking in behind the irrigator eating the crickets that pop up.
"The birds are managing our pests because they've now got a nearby sanctuary to live in."
Mr Brimblecombe said it was a no-brainer to use the class C water for his crops and urged other growers to consider it.
He said people didn't care about his use of the water as it's not going on fruit or vegetables.
"It's something everyone should be looking at," he said.
"Urban Utilities is trying to get more second use of water which is a big thing.
"We're the driest country and it's a way of using water twice which is a precious resource."
Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said an increasing number of commercial, industrial and agricultural customers are turning to recycled water to either supplement or replace their existing water sources.
"Using recycled water brings significant benefits to our customers and the environment in our communities," she said.
"It reduces the demand on our precious drinking water supply, is more economical for farmers and reduces nutrients in local waterways."