Earth First: Orange's never-ending harvest

STATE OF THE ART: The public are invited to tour Orange's multi-award winning stormwater harvesting scheme on Saturday, with a free bus leaving Orange Civic Centre car park at 2pm. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

STATE OF THE ART: The public are invited to tour Orange's multi-award winning stormwater harvesting scheme on Saturday, with a free bus leaving Orange Civic Centre car park at 2pm. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

ON SATURDAY the Orange community is invited by Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange and Orange City Council to attend a tour of the city’s multi-award winning stormwater harvesting scheme. 

Catch the free bus at the Orange Civic Centre carpark at 2pm to find out about how stormwater harvesting works. Tour members will visit a constructed wetland, inspect the pumping system and tour the stormwater treatment works.

Although we are currently experiencing an extremely wet season, Orange has been through periods of drought where there have been great concerns for our water security. Council has responded to these challenges by recognising stormwater as a valuable resource to be utilised, rather a nuisance to be disposed of as rapidly as possible.

With urban development comes an increase in impervious surfaces, such as driveways, roofs and roads which cause increased and more reliable stormwater run off. Climate modelling indicates that our future rain patterns will consist of more frequent storm activity, which makes stormwater harvesting more attractive. Also attractive is the concept of  the sustainable use of water obtained through additional run off created by urban development. The amount of water extracted through this process is strictly controlled to ensure that environmental flows are maintained and that downstream users and aquatic environments are not affected.

The Orange Stormwater Harvesting scheme is one of several in Australia. What makes Orange's scheme unique is that it is one of the few that is able to produce water to a standard of quality suitable to be pumped into a drinking water reservoir. Most other schemes provide water for irrigation and greywater purposes only.

Commencing in 2008, Orange established its stormwater harvesting scheme along Blackman's Swamp Creek, representing the first “indirect to potable” stormwater harvesting scheme in NSW if not Australia. 

Recently the Blackman's Swamp scheme has been joined by the Ploughman’s Creek Stormwater Harvesting Scheme. A feature of the Ploughman’s Creek scheme is the inclusion of four constructed wetlands - the Somerset Park wetlands, the Ploughman's Valley wetlands the Burrendong Way wetlands and the Escort Way wetlands. Their function is to provide preliminary purification of the stormwater, and to also control water flow.

Ploughman's valley runoff is estimated to allow for the harvesting of  an additional 800 megalitres per year.

Join the tour and find out about a scheme that sustainably utilises the excess water run-off created by urban development.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop