Map of Greater Darwin's sewerage systemOften people don't think about where water goes once they have used it, however it's important to understand that the water cycle doesn't end when the water goes down the drain.

After wastewater is treated it will either evaporate, literally turning into thin air, or it will be discharged into the surrounding environment.

Waste stabilisation ponds

All major regions in the Territory have waste stabilisation ponds, such as the Leanyer Sanderson Waste Stabilisation Ponds, that treat wastewater then allow it to evaporate.

Most regions have licences allowing the ponds to discharge when they are at capacity. Overflows tend to go into surrounding creeks, estuaries, swamps and rivers, however only under strict conditions.

Recycling

Power and Water has two water recycling schemes, one in Darwin and one in Alice Springs.

In Alice Springs, water is treated to a high standard at the Alice Springs waste stabilisation ponds before it is pumped into a naturally-formed underground aquifer. Stored underground, the water is further purified and not subjected to the hot sun and high evaporation rates of Alice Springs.

Some of the water is used for irrigation, with more available for future projects.

In Darwin, effluent is treated and reused at the Darwin Golf Course and Marrara sporting complex.