Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
sustainability refereed paper technical features 88 DECEMBER 2012 water population while retaining, and ideally improving, the amenity of their cities. Forecasts predict that our Australian population could increase 1.5 to three- fold over the next 100 years (ABS, 2008). Faced with this, our water utilities will need to find ways to overcome the environmental constraints of providing existing infrastructure services to existing population numbers that already do not have enough water, discharge too much nutrients, and emit too much greenhouse gas. These challenges require water utilities to change how they provide their infrastructure services to deliver more sustainable results. The challenges are not insurmountable. Fundamental to bringing about change is an awareness of the magnitude of change that is required. This paper proposes that the water industry needs efficiency improvements in the order of 33% to 67% in water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and nutrient discharges to meet the needs of growing cities over the next 100 years. Examples have been provided demonstrating how such magnitudes can be achieved at a greenfield site at Kalkallo, at an infill site at Doncaster Hill, in a backlog area at Kinglake West and with existing development in Blackburn. Individual projects are the manifestation of a business commitment. Fundamental to bringing about such a change is to embed sustainability into the very DNA of a corporate culture so that it can routinely deliver innovative projects that have a lower environmental impact, improve the service offering to the community, and have a lower community cost. So how are we going in achieving our long-term goals? Looking back on the last 15 years, Yarra Valley Water provides an example of what a water utility can achieve, having reduced its water consumption by 40%, reduced net greenhouse gas emissions by 100% (through efficiency improvements and offsetting), and reduced nutrient discharges from our operations (as measured by the nitrogen load passing to Port Phillip Bay) by 57%. Much of the infrastructure designed and constructed today will be around in 50 to 100 years, a time when we will face ever-increasing environmental constraints. It is, therefore, imperative that water utilities understand that the decisions of today are creating the cities of the future, and that we incorporate appropriate efficiency goals that are congruent with future needs. the author Francis Pamminger (email: Francis.Pamminger@ yvw.com.au) is the Manager of Research and Innovation at Yarra Valley Water. Career highlights include integrating sustainability into the business, having a lead role in one of Melbourne’s first third pipe systems, investigating urine separating toilets, and setting up a stormwater harvesting trial in an urban area to achieve potable quality. references ABS (2008): Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101. www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@. nsf/mf/3222.0 (Accessed 8 October 2012.) Coombes P, Bethke K, Cullen A, Allan A, Comley J & Pamminger F (2010): A Water Smart Plan for Doncaster Hill – Transforming a Principal Activity Centre into a Key Component of a Sustainable City. National Conference for the Stormwater Industry, Stormwater10, Sydney, 9–12 November 2010. Grant T & Opray L (2006): Sustainability of Alternative Water and Sewerage Servicing Options. Life Cycle Assessment. Stage 2 – Pheasant Creek (Kinglake West). RMIT University Centre for Design. Grant A, Sharma A, Mitchell VG, Pamminger F & Grant T (2006): ‘Designing for sustainable water and nutrient outcomes in urban developments in Melbourne’. Australian Journal of Water Resources, Engineers Australia, 10(3), pp 251–260. Institute for Sustainable Futures (2011): Mutual Learning for Social Change. Using social research to support the introduction of urine diverting toilets in the Kinglake West Sewerage Project. Jones Q, Dunphy D, Fishman R, Larné M & Canter C (2006): In great company: Unlocking the secrets of cultural transformation. Sydney, New South Wales: Human Synergistics Australia. Lloyd S, Pamminger F & Wang J (2012): Integrating alternative water sources into the urban fabric of existing suburbs. World Water Congress & Exhibition. Busan, Korea, 16–21 September 2012. Mathieson B (2011): Doncaster Hill Integrated Water Strategy – A Case Study for Least Community Cost Servicing. Ozwater’11 Conference, Adelaide, 9–11 May 2011. O’Connor N & Pamminger F (2011): Characteristics of Stormwater Quality to Inform the Design Of The Merrifield Stormwater Harvesting Scheme. Ozwater’11 Conference, Adelaide, 9–11 May 2011. Pamminger F & Bismark M (2012): Kalkallo stormwater harvesting project. AWA Stormwater Victoria Stormwater Seminar, titled ‘What makes a successful stormwater harvesting project?’. Melbourne, 29 May 2012. Pamminger F (2009): Advancing the Infrastructure Selection Process. A case study. www.yvw.com.au/Home/Aboutus/ Reportsandpublications/Researchreports/ index.htm (Accessed 5 October 2012.) Sharma A, Grant A, Tjandraatmadja G & Gray S (2006): Sustainability of Alternative Sewerage Servicing Options – Yarra Valley Water. Stage 2 – Backlog Areas. CSIRO. www.yvw.com. au/yvw/groups/public/documents/document/ yvw1001676.pdf (Accessed 8 October 2012.) UNEP (2012): Sustainable Resource Efficient Cities – Making it Happen. www. unep.org/urban_environment/PDFs/ SustainableResourceEfficientCities.pdf (Accessed 8 October 2012.) Wilson G, Pamminger F, Narangala R, Knight K, Tucker S & McGrath J (2010): ‘Stormwater for Potable Reuse Can Be Part of a Greenfield Urban Water Solution – Kalkallo Case Study’. Ozwater’10 Conference, Brisbane, 8–10 March 2010. Wriggely R & Bannan C (2012): ‘Results of Trials Commissioned by Yarra Valley Water of Yellow Water versus Conventional Kelp Based Growth Promotant for Turfgrass Production at Kinglake West’. Internal report to Yarra Valley Water. 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Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1