Recycled wastewater will soon flow in more than 1100 homes across two Maitland suburbs in a bid to almost halve the amount of drinking water used in each house.
It looks like regular water, but this liquid has been through a stringent recycling process and can be used for washing clothes, flushing toilets, washing cars or watering the garden.
It cannot be used for drinking or bathing.
The system will be switched on in Chisholm on May 6 and Gillieston Heights on May 31 and it will cost 15 per cent less than drinking water.
Hunter Water managing director Jim Bentley said ongoing drought conditions in the region, and across NSW, meant saving water was more important than ever.
"It's so important for us because some of the other measures we take to reduce drinking water usage, like rainwater tanks, are dependent on the rain. This is continuous, we always have wastewater so it can always be taking pressure off the drinking water system," he said.
Read more:The Big Dry - drought across NSW
"The effluent that comes out of a wastewater processing plant is good enough to discharge into a river, they then take that and put it through additional processing.
"You take what is already quite clean effluent, you put it through a process and turn it into water that is of a very high quality, although you shouldn't drink it,"Hunter Water Managing Director Jim Bentley
Ten per cent of Hunter Water's wastewater is currently recycled through industry and this is the first time it will supply recycled water to a residential area.
The wastewater is processed at facilities in Farley and Morpeth and then taken through another system of filters - and a disinfectant unit, to produce recycled water.
NSW Health and water utilities across the country - including recycled water specialists, were consulted during the program's development and Hunter Water has confirmed the recycled water meets the Australian Water Recycling Guidelines.
"We would like to get more of this happening as the city and the region continues to grow; it's about a 40 per cent saving per property," Mr Bentley said.
"One of the main benefits of recycled water is that it's largely unaffected by climate so our customers will be able to use it all year round for a range of non-drinking purposes."