Region's projects helping Unitywater's zero target

Published 6:00am 18 December 2022

Region's projects helping Unitywater's zero target
Words by Nick Crockford

Three flagship projects in the Moreton Bay Region are helping Unitywater reach net zero nutrients diverted or offset from waterways by 2050.

Schemes at Wamuran, Caboolture (pictured above) and Bellmere have been highlighted by the utility, which was the first in Australia to make the dual commitment.

CEO Anna Jackson says Unitywater has already hit 100 per cent beneficial reuse of biosolids and the goal of zero nutrients to waterways.

“Our interim targets for 2025 are to divert or offset 12,000kg of total nitrogen and 1,750kg of total phosphorus from waterways, from a baseline set in 2020,” she said.

“I’m delighted we are tracking ahead of targets, and have already diverted over 10,000kg of total nitrogen and 1700kg of total phosphorus away from natural waterways, exceeding what we set out to achieve at this stage.”

Unitywater is also using oyster farms to absorb nitrogen. “Oysters are natural water filters which clean the waterway when left in place,” Ms Jackson said. Other flagship projects include:

Region's projects helping Unitywater's zero target
Yandina Creek wetland

Projects

Wamuran Irrigation Scheme - $120 million scheme to take treated water from South Caboolture treatment plant for farmers to grow high-value crops. First stage will deliver 2.6 gigalitres of recycled water a year, save 11 tonnes of nitrogen and 1.8 tonnes of phosphorous.

Yandina Creek Wetland - (pictured above) Two lots of cane farming land were bought to restore it as wetland and remove nutrients and sediments from the river. This offsets nutrients discharged by Maroochydore treatment plant.

Caboolture River Nutrient Offset Project - $8 million project to repair nine riverbank sites and 2.4kms of eroding shoreline to offset nutrients from Burpengary East treatment plant. Planting 30,000 seedlings. Project will capture and store 34 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Bellmere Restoration Project - Stabilised 250m of Caboolture River at Bellmere, reshaping eroded banks and planting native species. Stopped 3600 tonnes of soil entering the river each year and offset nutrients from Caboolture South treatment plant.

Last year, Unitywater became one of 14 water utilities in Australia and New Zealand to join the UN-backed Race to Zero (net zero carbon emissions) by 2050.

More information about Unitywater’s sustainability goals click here

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