Inspire : Public Works Professional Sept - Oct 2013
34 Public Works Professional September-October 2013 WATER WISE In the grip of dire drought a few years ago, Victorian councils were restricted to irrigating just one in four sports grounds, and many of Melbourne's 1645 turf- topped assets faced r uin. Fields were closed, games cancelled, and there was widespread concern about the collapse of community networks if sporting clubs failed. Fortunately the drought broke, but the crisis was a catalyst for reassessing the sustainability of parks and sports grounds. Consequently, many for ward-thinking councils resolved to install stormwater-harvesting facilities, not only to save on irrigation costs (which the drought had starkly highlighted), but also to have a 'bankable' supply of water on hand in the event of a future prolonged dry spell. One trailblazer was Banyule City Council (BCC), with 21 suburbs between 7km and 21km north-east of central Melbourne. Primarily residential and family orientated, BCC owns 466 hectares of open space, encompasses vast tracts of Parks Victoria parkland, and is noted for its fora, fauna and botanical beauty. While sport, recreation and open space facilities are important for community health and wellbeing, 80 per cent of the council's potable water was until recently being used to keep these places green. However, BCC is now changing all that by spending $6 million on one of Melbourne's largest stormwater har vesting projects to capture, flter and store water underground for irrigating its parks and sports grounds. This will also improve wildlife habitats with a reduction in litter and other assorted nasties in the council's water ways. The project involves three locations -- Chelsworth Park in Ivanhoe, Kalparrin Gardens in Greensborough, and DeWinton Park in Rosanna. At the time of press, the latter two were almost complete, with DeWinton Park due for completion by the end of the 2013. "We will harvest 138 million litres of water a year -- the equivalent of 45 Olympic swimming pools," said BCC Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, John Milkins. "That will save council $300,000 of drinking water previously used for irrigation each year." According to Milkins, the work will also remove 70 tonnes of litter, 180 tonnes of sediment, one tonne of nitrogen and 250kg of phosphorous from creeks and water ways, including the Plenty and Yarra Rivers. At all three sites, underground storage will ensure no open space is lost. The water will be stored in a total of 1300 large ribbed arches buried at up to two metres deep and partially flled with scoria, a light volcanic rock that will play a valuable role in terms of algae build up. A bioactive flm on the scoria contributes further to the removal of nitrogen and SMART STRATEGIES PROTECT TURF ASSETS Banyule City Council's $6-million stormwater harvesting project, one of Melbourne's largest, will capture, flter and store stormwater underground to irrigate parks and sports grounds. BY BRIAN MCCORMACK The project will harvest 138 million litres of water each year -- the equivalent of 45 Olympic swimming pools.
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