As Summer creeps on and Orange's water woes have worsened an idea to begin recycling sewerage for drinking is being floated by council.
Currently, Cadia Valley Operations is entitled to eight megalitres a day of Orange's treated effluent but only uses six.
While Orange City Council and CVO haven't revealed whether a discussion was in place to claim back that allocation, talks at the OCC water forums revealed a plan could be in the pipeline to reallocate some of that water to the city's drinking taps.
Councillor Joanne McRae said she would be putting a motion to council to "investigate municipal wastewater recycling".
Are we happy to carry buckets of water from our laundry washing machines and showers or is their a better way of doing it?Joanne McRae
She said recycled water didn't necessarily need to be for drinking, it could be used for gardens or industry, agriculture and viticulture or even for fire fighting.
"It's about getting information from the experts to understand what the possible benefits are," Cr McRae said.
"Are we happy to carry buckets of water from our laundry washing machines and showers or is their a better way of doing it?"
Cities and countries around the world, including London, Belgium, Orange County in California and Singapore already supplement their water supplies with recycled water.
In Australia, Perth residents are among those drinking recycled water, while virtually all of Tamworth's treated effluent is available for the irrigation of grain and green-feed crops.
"It's not unique to Orange and maybe not as scary as in the past but I do think people need to understand the science behind its treatment and have an understanding of how it's going to be used," Cr McRae said.
The Central Western Daily asked readers whether they thought OCC should claim back its treated effluent to boost the water supply.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they would be happy to drink effluent if it were properly treated.
Almost 22 per cent said it should be claimed back but only for non-drinking purposes.
With Orange at risk of running out of water by December, Cr McRae said residents are rightly concerned but, in her experience, open to the idea of treated effluent.
"Storm-water use initially had a lot of opposition. The people who were worried about cigarettes and dog poo now know it's an important way to supplement our drinking water," she said.
Cr McRae said the recent downpour would have some impact on water storage.
"Every single day of rain makes a difference. Every 20-30 millimetres falling on Blackman's Swamp and Ploughman's Creek can give us another day's supply," she said.
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