The Victorian Government has announced a new stormwater harvesting project in Melbourne’s western suburbs that aims to capture and filter up to 150 million litres of stormwater, which will protect local waterways and benefit irrigators.

Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the Toolern Stormwater Harvesting Pilot Project will create long term benefits for Melbourne’s western suburbs, which are expected to house around 50,000 new residents by 2030.

The pilot project involves capturing and filtering up to 150 million litres of stormwater a year through wetlands in the Toolern urban growth area in Melton South. The water will then be transferred to Melton Reservoir.

The project is designed to be the model for a much larger stormwater harvesting scheme that could capture more than 3,000 million litres of stormwater by 2045.

“We must make the most of all our water resources to create livable, sustainable communities,” Ms Neville said.

“Residents of these new suburbs in Melton South will use around half the amount of drinking water of residents living in areas without these sorts of water management initiatives.”

The project also aims to stop pollutants entering nearby Toolern Creek and prevent disturbance to the creek’s ecology and flow patterns, often caused by high volumes of stormwater runoff during rainfall.

Member for Melton Don Nardella said, “This project is protecting the health of our waterways by reducing pollution and other impacts from uncontrolled stormwater runoff.”

The water transferred to Melton Reservoir may be also available for extra environmental flows for Werribee River.

The project is part of a wider integrated water management approach to the Toolern urban growth area, which includes the use of Class A recycled water in place of drinking water for toilet flushing, clothes washing and watering gardens.

Lauren Cella

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