Water Journal : Water Journal September 2012-1
refereed paper irrigation advances water SEPTEMBER 2012 95 • Irrigation activities are sustainable for the long term, designed for water conservation and have improved schedules; • Water conservation and contingency plans are available for individual sites; • DoW water licence allocation is now underutilised. In addition to this, there has been increased planting of native and local plant species, which have adapted to local conditions and the revised low watering regime, and the additional benefit of promoting biodiversity (part of Green Plan 2), creation of natural/wildlife habitat and strengthening the 'ecolink' network (Green Plan 2 and ecological links). The Next Steps There are a number of identified steps for the future direction of this project. A top priority is the development of a complete profile of the city and its reserves, paying particular attention to the hydrogeology, topography, type of facility, location of reserve (coastal/inland), the availability of water in terms of quantity/ quality, groundwater allocation levels, turf species present and the existence of remnant native vegetation from which eco-zones could be extended. There is also interest in further implemention of eco-zoning methods by undertaking site surveys and defining eco-zones intended on 'Water Smart' reserves. There is a preference for seed collection, propagation and planting of local native and indigenous plants. A more complicated but informative monitoring regime is planned with the installation and refinement of: • Electronic soil moisture probes to determine the threshold between deficit levels and sustenance levels in 'Water Smart' reserves; • The operation of 'weather stations' to generate dependable data; and • An effective irrigation control and regulation system based on automatic relay from the soil moisture probes and the 'weather station'. Further research and technical reviews are planned to supplement existing research into the Turf Irrigation and Nutrient Study (TINS) in which the City played a major role. The City will also be looking into the viability of wetting agents, identification of new turf species and implementation of turf species currently used. A thorough review and integration of the existing plans such as the Green Plan, POS Strategy, Local Area Planning and others ensuring that actions are compatible and supportive across all strategies, with timeframes appropriately coordinated, is currently underway. Finally, the development of a communication plan involving consultation with internal and external stakeholders, plus the wider general community, is earmarked. Emphasis is being placed on actively promoting the idea of 'Water Smart Parks', including designating high profile reserves for the development of Water Conservation Plans, ensuring reserves conform to the established criteria. The City of Stirling is seeking the support and possible endorsement from statutory authorities such as the Department of Water and the Department of Environment and Conservation for the regional adoption of the City's Groundwater Conservation strategy and Water Conservation Plans for 'Water Smart' reserves. Conclusion The City of Stirling has accomplished a significant amount since the implementation of the 'Groundwater Conservation Strategy' and the subsequent launch of the 'Water Smart Parks' strategy and, in conjunction with the POS strategy, will enable a more sustainable provision and development of public open space. As part of the roll-out, the City designated particular reserves as 'Water Smart' reserves. This enabled the City to introduce the concept of hydro-zones and eco-zones to the public as part of the Water Smart Parks reserves. Currently all of the City's parks and reserves are considered 'Water Smart'. Any upgrading, refurbishment or redesign is undertaken with the 'Water Smart Parks' strategy in mind. In accordance with this, the City of Stirling has developed a communication strategy for the citywide Water Conservation Plan and the Water Smart Parks strategy. Public knowledge, understanding and acceptance of changes are essential elements to the successful implementation of the water conservation strategies. These strategies, in conjunction with the POS strategy and the implementation of the Million Tree Initiative, have brought about a significant change in the community's thinking and is essential if the City is to maintain its investment in parks and reserves infrastructure, and achieve a 10% reduction each year and a uniform redistribution of its water allocation across the City. In conclusion, the City of Stirling has made significant progress in reducing the amount of water it consumes via the Groundwater Conservation Strategy. The City's progress is further supported by the Urban Bushland Conservation Strategy, and the Million Trees Initiative, which seek to establish ecological links or eco-zones in non-recreational areas where irrigation is being removed. The City of Stirling aims to provide leadership to the next generation through a local solution (Water Smart Parks) to a global challenge (groundwater conservation strategy) to create a sustainable City. Acknowledgements The City's Water Smart Parks has won several awards specifically related to the Water Smart Parks strategy, including the Department of Environment & Conservation, 2009 WA Environment Awards -- Winner of Government Leading By Example category; the Parks and Leisure Australia, 2010 PLA State and National Awards of Excellence -- Winner of Sustainable Initiatives Category in both; and was a key contributor to the Keep Australia Beautiful National Association, 2010 Australian Sustainable Cities -- Overall Winner for 2010 Australian Sustainable Cities. Most recently the Water Smart Parks initiative has been showcased in a number of international best practice reports published by the United Nationals Environment Program. The Author Geoff Eves (email: Eves. Geoff@stirling.wa.gov.au) is Director of Infrastructure at the City of Stirling, the largest local authority in Western Australia, a position he has held for the past seven years. He has over 30 years' experience in local government, with qualifications in engineering, accountancy and administration, and is currently enrolled for his PhD at the Curtin University. The Water Smart Parks strategy is an innovation developed and implemented by City of Stirling's former Manager Parks and Reserves, Sam Morrison. References Deeley DM (2008): A strategic approach to water management issues. Acacia Springs Environmental. Johnson K (2008): Photo images, Courtesy Sports Turf Technology. Short D (2002): Water use and drought tolerance in turf grasses. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Western Australia. Standing Committee on Public Works (2006): Report No. 5308 Inquiry into Sportsground Management in NSW.
Water Journal November 2012-1
Water Journal August 2012