More than just managing runoff

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Around Australia, stormwater professionals are tasked with capturing rainfall and making effective use of water that isn’t absorbed into the ground. Here, we take a look at some of the unique projects that are doing more than just managing runoff- they’re developing innovative uses for stormwater and saving millions of litres of potable water in the process.

Greener pastures

In Victoria, Moonee Valley Council, together with Yarra Valley Water, worked on a project to capture stormwater and use it for irrigation to support local sport and recreation facilities.The $1 million project will save up to 20 million litres of drinking water every year.

The project sees stormwater from local streets collected, treated and then used to irrigate Maribyrnong Park, Aberfeldie Park and Clifton Park, without the use of drinking water.

The project saw the construction of more than 2.7 kilometres of pipelines from the Afton Street Conservation Wetlands that capture stormwater from houses and streets across a 200 hectare area.

The wetlands divert stormwater and runoff from Smileys Creek, subjecting it to natural treatment processes to remove litter and waste particles.

Once water has been treated, it is stored in the wetlands until being pumped through the new pipelines to existing irrigation systems already in place at each of the recreation facilities.

State Member for Niddrie, Ben Carroll said “Initiatives like this stormwater recycled project make the most of water resources that are available to us, and provide the community with a secure source of water that will enable us to maintain the facilities here in Aberfeldie to first class standard.”

Ideal irrigation

In Western Australia, stormwater is also being used to provide irrigation supply in Forrestfield.

The first stage of the project involves the harvesting and filtering of 46,000 kilolitres of stormwater from a Water Corporation drain before injecting the water into the superficial aquifer below Hartfield Park.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said “This is an important project demonstrating the innovation we are adopting in Western Australia to develop local water sources to meet community needs in a drying climate.

“The Shire of Kalamunda has secured all the required regulatory approvals and built the infrastructure necessary to proceed with a trial stormwater managed aquifer recharge project, and this first stage will be used to monitor the response of the aquifer and water quality.

It is proposed the project will eventually add between 115,000­230,000 kL/yr to the local aquifer to support watering of new and upgraded playing fields, as well as other locations.

Sustainable management

In New South Wales, WaterNSW has completed a stormwater project which was recognised at the International Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference, taking out the award for Excellence in Policy or Education in the management of stormwater.

WaterNSW won the award for the ‘Evaluation of Council’s Stormwater Management Practices’ project, which was a joint partnership with eight local councils and Molino Stewart to continuously improve the management of stormwater practices.

The project covers the declared catchment (formerly the Sydney drinking water catchment), an area of approximately 16,000 square kilometres, that extends from north of

Lithgow to the source of the Shoalhaven River near Cooma in the south; from Woronora in the east to the source of the Wollondilly River near Crookwell in the west.

WaterNSW Chief Executive Officer, David Harris said “The sustainable management of stormwater is an important issue for WaterNSW because if not managed effectively, it can impact on water quality in local waterways.

“To most effectively protect water quality in the declared catchment we have adopted a multi­-barrier approach and work continually to develop and deliver programs to help reduce risks to water quality.

“Through robust evaluation and benchmarking we have achieved our aim to accelerate the uptake of best practice stormwater management, including the implementation of integrated water cycle management and water sensitive urban design,” said Mr Harris.

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