50 years of water sensitive urban design in SA

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RESEARCH AREA
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This week’s featured research article has just been published in Frontiers in Environment, Science and Engineering by CSIRO Land and Water researchers and examines fifty years of water sensitive urban design in Salisbury, South Australia. Australia has developed extensive policies and guidelines for the management of its water. The City of Salisbury, located within metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia, developed rapidly through urbanisation from the 1970s. Water sensitive urban design principles were adopted to maximise the use of the increased run-off generated by urbanisation and ameliorate flood risk. Managed aquifer recharge was introduced for storing remediated low-salinity stormwater by aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) in a brackish aquifer for subsequent irrigation. This paper outlines how a municipal government has progressively adopted principles of Water Sensitive Urban Design during its development within a framework of evolving national water policies. Salisbury’s success with stormwater harvesting led to the formation of a pioneering water business that includes linking projects from nine sites to provide a non-potable supply of 5 × 106 cubic metres per year.. These installations hosted a number of applied research projects addressing well configuration, water quality, reliability and economics and facilitated the evaluation of its system as a potential potable water source. The evaluation showed that while untreated stormwater contained contaminants, subsurface storage and end-use controls were sufficient to make recovered water safe for public open space irrigation, and with chlorination, acceptable for third pipe supplies. Drinking water quality could be achieved by adding microfiltration, disinfection with UV and chlorination. The costs that would need to be expended to achieve drinking water safety standards were found to be considerably less than the cost of establishing dual pipe distribution systems. The article can be downloaded here (or email jennie.fluin@sa.gov.au for a copy).