Debates about how we store and use water need to be had, despite them often becoming a case of ‘easier said than done’. The question of dams and their effectiveness in storing Australia’s water is one topic that is often subject to political spin at the hands of the Barnaby Joyces of this world; however, dams are not a particularly efficient way of storing water, especially in Australia.
The Queensbury Wastewater Pump Station is a key pump station in the SA Water network, supporting a population of almost 50,000 in Adelaide’s north-western suburbs. The pump station was originally constructed in 1935, and collects wastewater from around 20,000 properties, before pumping to the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment and discharge or re-use.
Plastic pipe is now the material of choice for servicing most of Australia’s current and future water needs. It may surprise you that in the cities of Australia, plastic pipe provides around 85 per cent of the water-services related infrastructure that supports our daily lives.
Known colloquially as ‘keyhole surgery for the environment’, trenchless technology is a non-invasive construction technique used in a variety of government-funded infrastructure projects. Its uses range from the construction of tunnels and the installation of pipelines, to the rehabilitation of existing assets, such as water and wastewater sewers.
An innovative upgrade to the energy plant at the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, which commenced in August 2012, will see up to 85 per cent of the power used at the plant generated on site through wastewater gases. The $25.8-million project will connect and install new infrastructure to create electricity from the available biogas created as a by-product of the sewage treatment process.
In September 2014, SA Water’s $5.75-million reverse osmosis desalination plant at Hawker, in the Flinders Ranges, began operating with the capability of supplying up to 440 kilolitres of treated drinking water per day to local homes and businesses.
Since 1971, wastewater from the southern area of Adelaide has been treated at the Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant at O’Sullivan Beach. As part of the treatment process, sludge was pumped to lagoons located on the banks of the Onkaparinga River for drying, removal and recycling. With expansion of housing development in the area, a commitment was made to decommission the lagoons and rehabilitate the site.
Encouraging innovation in sustainable urban water management with the goal of protecting scarce resources is increasingly seen as making wise economic and environmental sense, rather than as being the lofty dream of past decades.