The SMH makes out like its a bad thing. I really can’t see what the objection is to mixing drinking quality treated sewage back into the drinking water supply for further dilution and treatment. Sure I have a vague feeling of distaste for it, but I realise that is irrational and can get over it.
Sydney water estimates that to build a recycling plant to do 500ML like the proposed desalination plant would be more expensive, due to the cost of shipping water all the way back from the coast to the dams inland. However, a smaller scheme for about 100ML, located near Prospect and shipping the water directly into Prospect Reservoir would provide water much cheaper. While it would only do around 9% of the water supply, it would certainly be cheap to construct and cost about a third the amount of energy per litre.
Why aren’t we doing this as a first step rather than a pilot desalination plant. If we get into a position where we need to build a desalination plant for water then I’m all for it, but avoiding the cheaper option just because of some “ick factor” is nuts.