Waste Water Recycling

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Indicator Rationale

Water is a critical limiting factor for much of the Australian environment and economy.  The efficient management of water resources is essential to individual and community well-being, and to the protection of biodiversity and ecological systems (Environment Australia, 2002).  The distribution of scarce water resources between competing demands is also an equity issue.  Potable water supply for urban communities is a finite resource.  Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, but we are one of the greatest consumers of water per capita (Savewater, 2003). 

Its provision incurs a significant social, economic and environmental cost through the construction of storage, treatment and conveyance infrastructure (The Australia Institute and Newcastle City Council, 2000).  Wastewater reuse provides an indicator of efforts to conserve water resources. It is also important for diverting nutrients and pollutants from waterways (City of Onkaparinga, 2000). 

Data Source

VicHealth Indicators Survey 2011

Community Indicators Victoria Survey 2007


People in Households Collecting Waste Water: expressed as a percentage of the adult population.

A small number of survey respondents (less than 1.0% of the weighted survey estimates across Victoria) didn't know or refused to answer the survey question.  These respondents have been excluded from the data analysis.

Important: Note the differences in the question and response options given to explain types of waste water activities in the CIV Survey 2007 and VicHealth Indicators Survey 2007. In the CIV Survey 2007 respondents were asked about the types of behaviours they engaged in to save water.  This question was not asked in the VicHealth Indicators Survey 2011 and respondents were simply asked if a "household was collecting water from washing machines, showers or sinks to save water".  These changes were made by VicHealth in the survey design. It is also important to note that the 2011 survey was conducted during the winter while the 2007 survey was conducted during the summer and this is likely to influence results.

Survey Question

VicHealth Survey Question 2011

CIV Survey Question 2007 

Source of Question

This question was designed in consultation with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), following the examination of a variety of related questions asked in other surveys.  This quetion was modified in the VicHealth 2011 survey - refer to important notes above.


Environment Australia (2002). Are We Sustaining Australia? Report Against Headline Sustainabilty Indicators

National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA)