Yarra Valley Water awarded for stormwater harvesting project at Merrifield

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Nov 23rd, 2009

Yarra Valley Water has again been recognised for its approach to sustainability, winning the ‘Master-planning and design' category of the 2009 Stormwater Excellence Awards for its proposed $19 million Kalkallo Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Project, to be located at the new Merrifield development in Melbourne's north.

The project, supported by Merrifield Corporation, Melbourne Water and City of Hume, will involve capturing and treating stormwater from a 160 hectare catchment area within commercial land at Merrifield. In the future, it is hoped that the treated water may supplement the drinking water supply across the Merrifield development and Melbourne's growing northern corridor.

The award is another positive step forward for the project, which on 2 November received more than $9.6 million funding under the first round of the Federal Government's ‘Water for the Future - National Urban Water and Desalination Fund'. The Fund will provide $200 million to support initiatives that drive investment in stormwater harvesting and reuse projects.

‘This project demonstrates an innovative approach to solving common urban water issues and to thinking differently about the best way to manage water resources in the face of ongoing drought and climate change,' says Mr Sam Austin, Yarra Valley Water General Manager Sustainable Development.

‘The ultimate goal is to supplement the drinking water supply with treated stormwater, which will be a fantastic result for the whole of Melbourne; it will be another way we are reducing pressure on our water storages.'

The stormwater will be treated to drinking water standard and in the project's first stage, used to supplement the development's recycled water supply. Eventually, it is hoped it can supplement the potable water supply when rigorous monitoring and data collection demonstrates that it is safe to do so.

The stormwater will be collected via traditional stormwater drains. It will then be treated in a series of architecturally-designed wetlands along the Hume Highway frontage of Merrifield, including settling ponds and wetlands and then stored in a large dam.

The wetlands will incorporate best-practice sustainability design principles which will manage the quality and quantity of stormwater collected from the area. From there the water will pass through a state-of-the-art treatment plant which will produce a drinking water quality end product.

‘This water sensitive approach at Merrifield will be a leading example for future cities. It shows how the water industry is proactively creating solutions for the community to maximise use of alternative water sources, and reduce the excess stormwater degrading our streams and waterways,' says Mr Austin

‘The Kalkallo Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Project is set to be a project of international significance, showcasing how urban water infrastructure can be designed differently to deliver a more resilient water solution.'

The project will demonstrate how a new development can be built to:
„X Reduce the net volume of imported water by up to 90 per cent
„X Decrease the urban runoff into the local streams by 45 per cent above existing best practice
„X Decrease the nutrient discharged into the local streams by 25 per cent above existing requirements; and
„X Recover the upfront capital and ongoing operational costs within a 25 year period.

The surrounding landscape design at Merrifield will provide a community focal point to visually communicate the highlights and benefits of the wetlands and natural systems for the treatment of urban stormwater.

A number of steps have been taken to transform the project concept into a reality, including extensive stakeholder engagement with each of the project partners, including developer Merrifield Corporation.

Mr David Hall, General Manager, Merrifield Corporation says, ‘both the design of the wetlands and the overall water management system at Merrifield will draw on overseas success stories where the integration of stormwater harvesting schemes into the cityscape and public ownership of the cities' water bodies is encouraged.

‘A key part of our Merrifield vision is to establish new benchmarks in environmental sustainability, with an emphasis on saving, creating and sharing water supplies across the commercial, city centre and residential areas of the development.

‘This innovative, award-winning project being led by Yarra Valley Water is an important step in fulfilling our Merrifield vision.'

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http://www.merrifieldmelbourne.com.au/