Exploring the best methods to harvest, store and recycle stormwater is the focus for researchers at University of South Australia’s (UniSA) Centre for Water Management and Reuse (CWMR).
The UniSA researchers, as part of an Australia-wide research team, recently made an important contribution to the field, publishing the first risk assessments, and a risk-based management plan for a catchment used for stormwater harvesting in Australia.
The research project – Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options (MARSUO) – recently won the Stormwater Australia Excellence in Research and Innovation Award at the 2014 National Awards for Excellence.
CWMR research engineer Dr Baden Myers says it is critical to understand the risks associated with stormwater harvesting because stormwater is often stored in urban areas, where there are a number of risks including accidents and spills.
‘We examined the travel time of stormwater run-off and pollutants, from the catchment surface to the point of harvest,’ he says.
‘Information of this nature is valuable in the risk assessment process, providing guidance on realistic times to react to catastrophic events, such as accidents and spills in the catchment.’
Dr Myers says that the project specifically identified that speedy action is essential when responding to hazards in the catchment area.
‘The project indicated that the response time required to prevent a spill in the catchment being harvested during a storm event was less than one hour, and even shorter in hazardous locations closer to the point of harvest,’ he says.
Dr Myers says that the UniSA researchers played a critical role in hydrological modelling at the Parafield catchment as part of the MARSUO project.
‘In addition to our research, the project contributed to knowledge on the social acceptance and economic viability of stormwater harvesting and ecosystem services associated with re-use,’ he says.
‘Winning the award for Excellence in Research and Innovation Stormwater was the perfect conclusion to our project. The team greatly appreciated the recognition of our peers.’