MELTON is home not only to the world's first water-neutral suburb, at Toolern, but also the country's first certified carbon-neutral recycled water plant.
Low Carbon Australia chief executive Meg McDonald last week congratulated Western Water for reducing the carbon footprint of its Melton treatment plant by almost 75per cent.
This was achieved by installing a cogeneration unit, which uses methane emissions generated by recycling waste to power the plant.
Western Water managing director Neil Brennan said the two-year-old plant was carefully designed to minimise its carbon footprint.
Carbon emissions have since been reduced through the use of energy generated from the plant's biogas cogeneration.
"We're currently providing water, recycled water and sewerage services to about 150,000 residents, but our population is growing by about 6000 every year," Mr Brennan said. He said by 2030, Toolern would have more than 50,000 residents. It will be the first water-neutral development in the country.
"What that means, is the amount of drinking water used in Toolern will be roughly equal to the amount of stormwater harvested for reuse," Mr Brennan said. He said the plant's environmentally conscious design would have a flow-on effect to customers, reducing their utility bills because the plant will also be paying less.
While Toolern is one of the driest parts of Victoria, with an average yearly rainfall of 400-500 millimetres, it will be the shire's major new urban growth area.