Recycled water switched on at Bendigo Hospital
Last Update: Thursday, March 6, 2008. 3:26pm AEDT

By David Townsend

With the impact of the ongoing drought on the Central Victorian community, water conservation has become an integral
part of our everyday lives. But the responsibility for reducing water usage doesn't just fall on residents. Government
and business also have a responsibility to ensure that they are using water resources efficiently.

A new project launched at the Anne Caudle Centre demonstrates that Bendigo Health is taking its responsibility
seriously. Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan has today switched on a new pipeline that provides recycled water to
the Bendigo Hospital.

According to Ms Allan, Bendigo is leading the way in water conservation and efficient use of water resources.

"We are the first city in Victoria to have a recycled water pipeline, and to have all of our water recycled in this way. I
think this might make the Bendigo Hospital the first hospital in Victoria to be part of a project like this."

Each year, the new pipeline will save in excess 60 megalitres or 60 million litres of potable water in the Bendigo system.
The new pipeline taps into the existing 14km recycled water pipeline that runs through the middle of Bendigo, from
Epsom to Spring Gully.

The water is piped to the Tom Flood Sports Centre, then across to the Anne Caudle Centre, and then runs under
Arnold Street through the service tunnel to the main hospital campus. Bendigo Health estimates that the drinking water
freed up by this new pipeline will be enough to service around 200 Bendigo homes.

The pipeline installation has been made possible through the financial support of the Smart Water Fund and
Community Water Grants, and has been built by local contractors and the Bendigo Health engineering staff.

According to David Walker, the executive director of buildings and infrastructure who has been overseeing the project,
Bendigo Health takes its responsibility to the community very seriously.

"I think it's very important that we, as a major employer and as a major user of water in Bendigo, make every effort we
possibly can to reduce our consumption, not just of water but of energy as well."

The pipeline is just one initiative in a wider program throughout Bendigo Health to reduce water consumption. Other
projects include capturing the water from sterilising units and recycling it onto the gardens, capturing the water from
reverse osmosis filtration units to flush toilets on the acute campus, and incorporating energy and water saving
features into new nursing homes.

Although there is little money to be saved in reducing water usage, David feels that improving water and energy
efficiency is an important goal for the Hospital.

"When it comes to water conservation, there's not a great deal of money to be saved, but it's extremely important that
we manage to save water so that there's more water available for the Bendigo community. On the energy saving
projects, we can make substantial dollar savings, and we have done. We have made in excess of $100,000 a year
saving in our energy bills, and every dollar we save in the engineering department, is a dollar for patient care."