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City West Water is leading the way in developing and implementing innovative stormwater harvesting projects supporting healthy, green spaces across Melbourne’s western suburbs and lessening the demand on the city’s precious drinking water.

Stormwater harvesting involves collecting stormwater runoff from urban areas for treatment, storage and irrigation of open spaces.

This water otherwise would flow down the drain and into Port Phillip Bay. Stormwater harvesting prevents stormwater pollution and litter from entering local waterways.

Not only does stormwater harvesting help to save hundreds of millions of litres of drinking water each year by providing an alternative water supply for irrigation, it also helps to promote water sustainability and to develop thriving green open spaces for community use.

City West Water’s Managing Director, Maree Lang, said the water corporation was partnering with a range of stakeholders to co-invest in developing sustainable stormwater harvesting projects.

“These projects aim to improve the health and wellbeing of our community, increase liveability, create greener open spaces and reduce our reliance on our drinking water resources for irrigating sporting reserves and recreational parklands,” she said.

“Our customers expect us to provide reliable services and this is one way we are managing our water resources for long-term security, in the face of our changing climate and a fast-growing population.

“Our collaborative stormwater harvesting projects will also encourage greater physical and recreational activities, and ultimately improve health outcomes for our community.”

City West Water’s stormwater harvesting partnerships

Stormwater harvesting partnerships are one of the ways City West Water continues to deliver impactful projects that save drinking water and help improve community liveability.

City West Water currently has six stormwater harvesting projects in operation, supplying up to 285 million litres of stormwater per year for irrigation of sport grounds and public open spaces.

These projects include:

  • Laverton Stormwater Harvesting Project
  • Afton Street (Aberfeldie) Stormwater Harvesting Project
  • Green Gully Reserve Stormwater Harvesting Project
  •  Paisley Park (Altona North) Stormwater Harvesting Project
  •  Keilor Public Golf Course Stormwater Harvesting Project
  •  Lake Caroline Stormwater Harvesting Project

City West Water also committed to delivering six more stormwater harvesting projects through its Stormwater Harvesting Partnering Fund, which has enabled the utility to partner with councils and organisations to co-fund stormwater harvesting projects for open spaces, parks and sports fields in the region.

“These projects will supply over 100 million litres of stormwater per year for irrigation of public open spaces, delivering greener local parks and sporting ovals across our service area,” Ms Lang said.

“Each initiative is a strong example of how we’re working with local councils and organisations to enhance the health and prosperity of the local community.”

Projects underway or recently completed include:

  • Melbourne Tennis Centre (Melbourne & Olympic Parks)
  • Melbourne Ballpark (State Baseball Softball Centre) in Altona
  • Woodlands Park in Essendon
  • Balmoral Park in Derrimut
  • Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy North
  • Arndell Park in Wyndham

“Our partners recognise that, as a community, we have a shared responsibility for the urban water cycle and our joint funding of these projects demonstrates this commitment in action.”

For further information, visit www.citywestwater.com.au/stormwater or read below for an overview of some of the projects.

Melbourne Ballpark (State Baseball Softball Centre) Stormwater Harvesting Project

The Melbourne Ballpark Stormwater Harvesting Project involves the construction of a 300m pipeline to supply stormwater harvested from the nearby Laverton Stormwater Harvesting Scheme (SWHS) to irrigate the centre’s reserves.

Before this project, the centre relied on drinking water for irrigating its fields. The water harvested from the Laverton SWHS will now supply ten million litres of stormwater a year, enough to meet the centre’s current demands for both its main and outer playing fields.

This project is delivered in partnership with Melbourne Ballpark, Hobsons Bay City Council, Melbourne Water and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Woodlands Park (Essendon) Stormwater Harvesting Project

In partnership with Moonee Valley City Council and Melbourne Water, the Woodlands Park Stormwater Harvesting Project includes upgrading the existing ponds into a functional wetland, increasing the capacity and performance to treat stormwater at the site.

The harvested water is treated naturally within the wetland system prior to undergoing a final filtration treatment and ultraviolet disinfection before being used to irrigate open spaces and native vegetation.

This high-quality water is also being used to enhance and sustain both the aquatic wildlife and native habitat within and around the surrounding wetland.

The works have the capacity to harvest over 53 million litres of stormwater per year, of which 12 million litres will be used to irrigate the parkland.

Woodlands Park

Melbourne Tennis Centre (Melbourne and Olympic Parks) Stormwater Harvesting Project

Thanks to the thoughtful design and construction of a 380m long pipeline at the precinct as part of this project, 12 million litres of stormwater per year will be diverted from discharging to the Yarra River and instead be distributed across the 44-hectare site.

Stormwater from the various catchments is captured in a 4.5ML underground storage tank, where it is treated before being distributed to various locations for use as required.

This helps to keep the multi-purpose site green and thriving while offsetting the use of drinking water.

The scheme also significantly minimises the pollution and nutrient load from water that could potentially harm the Yarra River and helps to protect the environment across the gardens, public spaces and recreation fields that Melbourne and Olympic Parks manages.

Balmoral Park (Derrimut) Stormwater Harvesting Project

City West Water has partnered with Brimbank City Council and Melbourne Water to construct the Balmoral Park Stormwater Harvesting Scheme in Derrimut to irrigate two local sporting ovals, with an option to further irrigate the sports oval at Derrimut Primary School.

The project receives water from two nearby Melbourne Water drains to irrigate the sporting ovals, reducing reliance on drinking water by up to 20 million litres per year.

The project is expected to increase water security for the current and future green infrastructure of Balmoral Park, assisting in reducing pollution from downstream waterways and supporting the potential for the future growth of the nearby school.

It further aims to raise awareness of conservation areas and the benefits of sustainable water management, while supporting community health and wellbeing by providing a usable space year round.

A birds-eye view of balmoral park’s new water storage tanks that will help deliver up to 20 million litres of irrigation each year to the park’s sports fields and gardens. Credit: Brimbank City Council.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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