Gabrielle Berry was blown away that 100,000 litres of water is reused every week at Charles Sturt University in Thurgoona.
The 14-year-old was among 60 students visiting the campus today to learn about the treatment system and test the water quality in receiving tributaries and wetlands.
“We’re learning about water sustainability and we’ll be writing to tell council what we can do,” she said.
“We need to be careful using water.
“We can’t have composting toilets at school but if we can use water not as clean as we drink in toilets, that would be great.
“I believe everyone should be doing that.”
Students from Albury, Murray and James Fallon high schools took to the David Mitchell Wetlands and filtration ponds to measure the chemical makeup of the water and the health of aquatic life.
School of Environmental Sciences lecturer John Rafferty explained to the group water was harvested and run-off managed to achieve the best results.
“We’re processing at least 100,000 litres a week through our reed beds and wetland systems,” he said.
“It’s not so much about recycling the water, but minimising our impact on that water.
“There’s students using water for showers and six weeks later the same water is being used for irrigation onsite.”
Dr Rafferty said the system, the recipient of numerous awards, was about getting the most use possible out of water.
“Where we don’t have toilets that are composting, the systems are charged with harvested water at least,” he said.
“Once you mix waste with water, millions of dollars go into bringing it back to being drinkable, so we have an intervention at the start.”
Project co-ordinator lecturer Paul Grover said students were mentored in developing a persuasive argument about the system.
“Using the evidence they gather, the students will prepare a case for Albury council and propose that council consider water recycling systems for new and established housing estate developments,” he said.
“It’s also so that the students see a university within their community as an active place, and we’re looking to them as the future adults in our community who will be the decision makers to be well-informed.”