A PLAN to harvest stormwater from Blackmans Swamp Creek to eventually be converted into drinkable water has been given the green light after years of delays.
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal issued a judgment this week that licences could be granted for Orange City Council to operate a weir in Blackmans Swamp Creek, where storm water is extracted, and a large holding pond.
The holding dam at the Narrambla water treatment plant will be able to hold 230 million litres that will end up at Suma Park dam or the North Orange Dual Water System. About 850 million litres of water will be able to pass through the holding dam each year.
However, Orange City Council technical services director Chris Devitt said although the licences were approved, the water harvesting system would not be operational for several months while construction takes place at Suma Park dam.
The harvesting scheme was built in 2010 and was the first in Australia to look at going back into potable water.
However, it has not been used to its full capacity since landholders raised concerns about flows in Summer Hill Creek and the creek environment being adversely affected.
“At the end of the day we came to an agreement with these landowners, we will release some water from Suma at various times to make sure there will be water in the creek,” Mr Devitt said.
“This project proves that storm water is a valuable water source that other communities in Australia can use.”
In its published ruling, the tribunal said it was satisfied there will be little impact on the allocation of water resources or on anyone entitled to take or use water from the water system.
The water harvesting system also includes a constructed wetlands off Ploughman’s Creek that is estimated to be able to produce about 500 million litres a year.