Building water sensitive cities

water4a_300x180Staff in a Monash University-led project, called Water Sensitive Cities, believe the time is right for a bold idea that could produce 20 to 30 per cent of Melbourne’s future water needs.

Annually, almost as much stormwater falls on Melbourne as its citizens use, but only a fraction is captured and reused. Billions of litres of stormwater literally go down the drain and into Port Phillip Bay, degrading the ecological health of Melbourne streams and the bay.

The project will harness stormwater to overcome water shortages, reduce urban temperatures and improve the landscape and liveability of Australian cities.

“Our cities must become resilient to the climate and social pressures that confront them. We must find new, more integrated solutions that can address the problems thrown up by climate change and population growth,” says Monash’s Prof. Ana Deletic.

Most models involve capturing stormwater in neighbourhood parks and creeks, letting nature clean it through bio-filtration, then reusing it in toilets, for washing and on gardens. The stormwater treatment systems would also help cool our increasingly hot cities and protect the health of urban waterways.

The systems can be adapted to most major cities and the team is currently running pilots in Israel and Singapore. The group is also an invited partner on a seven million Euro project for the European Union on adaptation of urban water systems to climate change.

For more information:
Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration, Monash University
Tel: +61 (3) 9905 4957, www.monash.edu.au/fawb

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