By Andrew Allan, National President, Stormwater Australia
2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Stormwater Australia, the new identity of the Stormwater Industry Association of Australia. Over the past few years the association has been steadily growing in confidence and stature as it forges a leading role in setting a vision and direction for the management of stormwater in Australia.
With the third national conference scheduled for October in Adelaide, there is strong momentum beginning to build behind another priority flagship project to establish a process to verify and recognise product performance claims in the marketplace.
Responding initially to a call by the product supply sector of the industry Stormwater Australia has undertaken extensive research on the state of play across industry and models of assessment and verification that could be used in Australia.
As an industry which has an intrinsic interest in supporting effective investment in as much as one half of all money spent on water management in this country it is imperative that specifiers, owners and ultimately the public have confidence in the ability to deliver required outcomes.
Over the past decade there has been a quiet revolution going on which has seen increased awareness in the need to manage stormwater to achieve environmental outcomes along with traditional drainage function. For a couple of decades now there has been a focus on managing the quality aspects of stormwater, more recently the need to control volumetric impacts associated with runoff (and especially stream morphology and ecology) have been growing in importance.
Stormwater quality improvement can be achieved in many different ways but systems often employ a proprietary device to remove particular pollutants. To contribute positively and rise to the challenge to provide consistent and comparable information the industry needs to establish a standardisation of approach and a trusted process to validate performance claims of different devices. This has been identified as priority action for Stormwater Australia to process through our Stormwater Quality Improvement Device (SQID) project over the next 12 months.
While further consultation to develop detail occur will early in 2014 through Stormwater Australia, there are some emerging lessons from the analysis undertaken to date which will underpin the way forward. Devices should be:
Stormwater Australia represents manufacturers, suppliers, specifiers, designers, installers and operators of stormwater systems. Moving forward the SQID project needs to build upon the current levels of support and recognise an end point which will serve the collective good.
Information needs to be presented in a user-friendly, easy to understand format which takes in the broader needs of designers, specifiers, installers and operators beyond just treatment aspects.
Evidence based claims should be assessed by a trusted panel of experts using understood and accepted scienctific methods to ensure accountability.
Needs to generate revenue to support a robust assessment process and ensure information remains current and accurate.
The development of knowledge is a continuous processes and should be undertaken to increase confidence to support outcomes.
Experience tells us the world isn’t static, and our industry is no different. When designed well, a scheme should be accessible to new and established players and recognise and support the innovation and product development.
We would encourage infrastructure managers from across Australia to find out more Stormwater Australia’s approach. Ultimately we are all working to achieve a common outcome of providing effective and functional solutions for the community and the environment.
For more information visit www.stormwater.asn.au