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Type: Thesis
Title: The challenge of implementing water harvesting and reuse in South Australian towns.
Author: Rabone, Fiona Ann
Issue Date: 2007
School/Discipline: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Abstract: Water is precious, particularly in South Australia, the driest State in Australia, with over 80% of its land area receiving less than 250mm of rainfall per year. Security of water supply has always played a critical role in the economic and social development of South Australia, and will continue to do so while dependency on water from the River Murray is so high and there is competition over this from states and for different uses – municipal, irrigation, industry, and the environment. The drive towards sustainable development has evolved to attenuate overconsumption of the world’s natural resources of which water is a key element. Provision of reliable water supplies to regional South Australia has always presented challenges, given the vast distances involved and the limited number of natural water sources. Despite these, a majority of South Australians enjoy the benefit of a reliable and safe water supply, adequate waste disposal system, good community health and high standard of living. A challenge remains to determine the sustainability of current major water pipe transfer systems from remote resources to small communities. There may be scope for managing existing water supplies more effectively and further developing local water harvesting and reuse solutions to minimise the need for more significant infrastructure investment. This study investigates the challenges and opportunities for extending development of non-potable (secondary) water supply schemes in South Australian towns. These schemes will conserve the State’s freshwater resources. The primary focus of this study is harnessing stormwater runoff and treated effluent generated by normal township development to supplement higher quality public water for uses such as irrigation of public areas and sporting fields in country areas. Water harvesting and reuse is not likely to occur due to some technological breakthrough but through application of known technology and the adoption of water conscious ethics by society. However, it is a sensible reality for the South Australian climate, particularly when coupled with appropriate conservation and suitable landscaping practices. Thus, the major theme of this study is information sharing since if people are familiar with and understand the concepts then more communities may be encouraged to develop their resources. Water reuse has proven to be a beneficial strategy for addressing stormwater runoff and wastewater disposal problems and alleviating localised water supply problems for several South Australian towns and communities. The existing projects demonstrate both the strong community-based and innovative approach to water resources management in this state. They are inherently simple in form, and can often be assembled with readily available materials by people with a basic understanding of plumbing and construction skills (locally available). The potential for localised water harvesting and reuse in South Australian towns is generally limited to single purpose communal non-potable systems. Further, it is likely to only be sustainable in rural communities willing to make a commitment to its long term, proper operation and maintenance, or they could endanger public health.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Eng.Sc.) - University of Adelaide, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2007
Subject: Water reuse South Australia.
Cities and towns South Australia.
Water harvesting South Australia.
Keywords: Stormwater harvesting; Effluent reuse; Wastewater reuse; Small town; Small system; South Australia
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