Our reclaimed water management scheme


The Reclaimed Water Management Scheme (REMS) is a wastewater recycling scheme designed to beneficially reuse treated wastewater on local farms, sporting fields and golf courses.

Our wastewater recycling scheme promotes sustainable development by:

  • Protecting the environment
  • Reducing demand for potable water supplies
  • Promoting local economic development
  • Directly involving the community in water conservation

Our REMS scheme is one of the largest and most complex water recycling schemes undertaken by a regional water authority.

First commissioned in 2002, the scheme now includes 33 dairy farms, two golf courses and several sporting grounds with reclaimed water for irrigation to well over 600 hectares of land.

Since its inception, REMS has facilitated the recycling of over 28,000ML of reclaimed water which is 70% of the total reclaimed water produced.

An aerial photo of the rems storage dam. It is a large body of water surrounded by trees and vegetation.

Scheme components

Shoalhaven City Council is committed to promoting the beneficial use of treated wastewater and solids removed during the treatment process.

The system is made up of a range of components which include:

  • Bulk storage pond - Has a capacity of 600ML (around 12,000 average swimming pools or 600 Olympic swimming pools)
  • Bulk storage return pump station - Draws reclaimed water from the pond to supply distribution
  • Distribution storage reservoir - Holding 4ML, the reservoir balances the flows pumped from treatment plants to end-users
  • Treatment plants - Included in the scheme are: Vincentia, Culburra Beach, Callala, St Georges Basin, Vincentia, Nowra and Bomaderry
  • Distribution mains - Around 30km of pipeline connects the treatment plant to end-users including a 1400m pipeline constructed under the Shoalhaven River.
  • Farm ponds and flow control works - Each property connected to the scheme has their own storage pond which holds approximately one day’s irrigation. A flow control valves automates the rate of supply to each bulk user.


Biosolids are the organic solid waste product that is recovered from the sewage treatment process and processed for re-use as fertiliser on farmland.

As with animal manure, the human wastewater contains nutrient rich solids which are treated and re-used to improve soil for agriculture and grass.

During the treatment process, activated sludge is pumped from the bottom of the aeration basin to the sludge lagoons where it is processed through a dewatering machine called a 'centrifuge'.

The end product is left to dry on a prepared bed before being tested and classified for reuse.

On average, 5500 tonnes of biosolids are produced in Shoalhaven every year - 100% of which is recycled onto farmland.

processed biosolids on a drying bed