The Reuse of Waste Water in Australia falls under the guidance and regulation of three levels of government:
The Federal Health Department.
Each states regulatory body & Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Each local Council's Environmental / Engineering or Planning department.
Government experience with large environmental issues, such as deforestation, greenhouse gases, land salinity and water conservation, has shown that by not addressing these problems at the earliest opportunity increases the ultimate cost of remediation. As a result, Governments and regulatory agencies over the last ten years have placed a higher focus on caring for the environment and addressing environmental issues as they emerge, rather than waiting until we face a crisis. In the case of water, while there has been some action, the crisis appears to be upon us.
There is now an increasing demand for efficient and cost effective methods to handle waste. Moreover, if there is a recycling value to either the processing company, the community or the environment then the demand is increasing exponentially. Governments have spent considerable time, effort and money developing recycling, reuse and waste reduction programs which have been designed to encourage all waste generators to minimise their waste volumes and recycle whenever possible. These schemes are also designed to reduce the demand on the local authorities for the provision of services as well as the demand on resources that are becoming increasingly scarce.
Regulatory authorities are now using more than punitive damages to encourage corporations and the public to take a more pro-active role in preventing environmental damage rather than deal with it at the "end of the pipe".
The Federal and State Governments in Australia have dramatically increased the regulatory control of generation and disposal of waste. The Australian government strongly supports finding a solution to our water crisis.
In NSW, three Acts and associated regulations as well as more than fourteen new guidelines have been passed and introduced to control waste management since 1995. (Refer to the Waste Minimisation & Management Act, 1995). Additionally, new schemes to encourage efficient water use at both a residential and commercial level are being developed, mandated and implemented.
In Queensland, new regulations have been introduced for both residential and Commercial/industrial developments in regard to water efficiency and alternate water supplies. These new regulations are seeing an increase in demand for alternate supplies of water including rainwater tanks and on site recycling schemes.
Charges for waste disposal through traditional sewerage schemes are also increasing each year in all states.
Local government in all states still have a significant role in the regulation/approval of the installation of on site schemes through their development approval processes. These are approval processes are improving and becoming more streamlined with the increase in the number of applications being received for such systems.