This week Council approved a feasibility and design study for a grey water treatment and re-use system will enable us to water the existing Leighton Beach grass and vegetation using treated greywater from adjacent private developments.
This innovative collaboration, if successful, will enable the City of Fremantle to save 20,000kL of water and $37,000 a year for the reticulation of this public reserve.
This opportunity at Leighton initially came up because we were building new kiosk and shower facilities adjacent to the newly grassed reserve. While it turns out that a capture and distribute greywater system from the Leighton shower facilities may not offer much benefit other than as a demonstration project; the opportunity that exists with large private developers adjacent to the reserve offers far greater value.
If we can find a way to reuse water from the development sites, this will save Council $37,000 and 20,000kL of water a year. It will also be a unique and innovation – possibly a first in Perth.
Experts from Josh Byrne and Associates state “What is unique is the collaboration between two separate parties on two separate land titles/lots. This would set a precedent that could unlock these kinds of opportunities in other locations.”
Development sites such as the Energy Museum and Quarry Street – both adjacent to Fremantle Park; the Knutsford Street area – next door to the Golf course and Booyeembarra Park; the Lefroy Road development area – adjacent to the South Fremantle High School are prime examples of where this could also be implemented in Fremantle.
If successful, this collaborative community-scale greywater project will reinforce Fremantle’s leadership in innovation, excellence and sustainability. It may even be adopted more widely throughout Perth, thereby having a significant contribution towards reducing our dependence on increasingly expensive and scarce water resources. Water resilience is a significant concern throughout Perth and in Fremantle.
Using less water, or obtaining water from alternative sources must be a priority for all councils, as we become a drier, hotter climate.
This is made clear in the WA State Water Plan (2007), which states key actions include:
- Use and recycle water wisely
- Plan and manage water resources sustainably
- Invest in science, innovation and education
This is echoed in the City of Freamantle’s Water Conservation Strategy, which states:
“A key imperative of the City is to… implement staged water management actions for all City of Fremantle properties and recreation areas, with clear targets for reduced water usage. Water availability in Perth has been labelled as the most challenging of future water supply and demand scenarios (Thomas 2008, p. 14). Even in “low growth” population projections, the Perth area is expected to be in a water shortage by 2020 with existing groundwater, surface water, and desalinisation sources (Department of Water 2010, p. 4). The new goal is to reduce the City scheme & ground water consumption by a further 10% over the next 10 years.”
It includes the following actions:
- Develop policies and guidelines to help reduce scheme water in all City of Fremantle owned and managed properties
- Investigate alternative water supply options
- Develop policies and guidelines on greywater use and encourage greywater use for irrigation
Therefore it is good sense to undertake this feasibility study baffles.
The One Planet strategy states: “The City of Fremantle is conscious of Western Australia’s water scarcity and is committed to innovative strategies to improve water use efficiency“.
This feasibility study into a collaborative greywater reuse project is well worth perusing. It is being undertaken by Josh Byrne and Associates; a credible team of professionals renowned for their work in sustainable innovation, including the water initiatives at Landcorp site in WGV. They have previously done studies into greywater reuse at Bold Park and have a wealth of practical experience, expertise and professional networks that will give this project great advantage. They know about the health, technological and botanical implications of these matters and can advise us appropriately.
This project has the potential to save ratepayers over $37,000 and 20,000kL of our precious water resources each year at the Leighton Beach site alone. But more significantly, this innovation could be replicated in other sites having a multiplier effect and proving to be excellent value and investment from council in water resilience and financial efficiency.
I am tremendously excited about the potential this project and proud of the council for undertaking such an initiative.