Water Journal : Water Journal April 2011
stormwater use refereed paper 118 APRIL 2011 water technical features Abstract A survey of urban Australians in three local government areas, two in South Australia and one in Queensland, was conducted over the internet to determine their attitude towards using stormwater treated through Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) only and MAR with treatment plant for several non-potable uses. Results indicated that there was a marked preference for treatment, and the respondents' attitude towards using the stormwater was closely related to the proximity of the end use to human contact. The demographic variables influenced how respondents rated some of the attitude statements related to stormwater reuse type. Trust in the treatment authority was an important factor in all use types. Overall respondents were in agreement that they would need to use water of different qualities for different purposes in the future, but they were keen to have a trustworthy well-funded organisation to take responsibility for this. Introduction Globally, fresh water availability to meet the growing needs of humankind has raised serious concerns. Rapid urbanisation and industrialisation has increased the pressure on existing fresh water resources. Consequently, today fresh water has become a limiting factor and providing the water needed to feed a growing population and balancing this with all the other demands on water, is one of the great challenges of this century. This paper will focus on the option of the use of urban stormwater to augment freshwater supplies. In the event of water scarcity and its associated problems, concepts such as water reclamation and recycling are considered as key components of water management systems around the world. In Australia, the 2004 Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative sets the framework for urban water reform through a series of key water supply, efficiency and pricing innovations. One of them is to "encourage innovation in water supply sourcing, treatment, storage and discharge" (Clause 90 NWI, 2004). While assessing the implementation of NWI, the National Water Commission in its assessment report (NWC, 2009) states that: "There has been a considerable increase in the uptake and use of new and alternative water sources, particularly desalination, large-scale non-potable recycling, sewer mining, greywater collection and reuse, and rainwater tanks" (p.232). Even so, the Commission in the same report recommends speedier implementation of the COAG National Urban Water Planning Principles considering the challenges in implementing any water reuse strategies. One of these principles is to integrate potable urban water supplies with other aspects of the urban water cycle, including stormwater management. Past studies on wastewater reuse have identified public health concerns and gaining public acceptance as major challenges in implementing a water reuse strategy. So, even though wastewater and stormwater are two different sources of water, one could argue that implementing a stormwater program will face similar challenges. Therefore, addressing the issues of public health concerns and public perceptions is of utmost importance. This paper is based on the responses to an internet survey conducted in three cities in Australia as part of the research project funded by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT). The project aims to look at specific issues such as ways to engage the community in managing groundwater sustainably and the purpose of this survey was to determine attitudes and intentions of urban Australians to use treated stormwater through the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) process for non-potable uses. See Box 1 (overleaf) for details about MAR projects in Australia. This paper reports the results pertaining to the community attitude towards stormwater reuse and their willingness to put into practice non-structural measures to reduce stormwater pollution. Methodology Study location Stormwater harvesting has become an important option for many Australian cities and this study chose to select two cities in South Australia, which leads the country in stormwater capture and reuse, wastewater recycling, irrigation practices and rainwater tank ownership (Department of Water, 2009), and one city in South-East Queensland, Australia's fastest-growing region, which will generate demand for 575,000 new dwellings and 425,000 new jobs, as well as supporting infrastructure and services (Philp et al., 2008), thus imposing significant pressures on the region's water resources (see Figure 1). Of the two cities in South Australia, the city of Salisbury has gained international recognition for its stormwater projects, which harvest urban stormwater and store it in wetlands, later using it for irrigation and industrial use, or storing it in underground aquifers for later use in a process known as aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The city of Charles Sturt is currently conducting the Waterproofing the West Project, which will provide treated stormwater to some of the most publicly visible reserves and developments in the city. The project is currently in Stage 1, the first component of a broader region- wide system which will harvest, treat and store stormwater in specific locations, and G Keremane, J McKay, Z Wu An Internet Survey of Residents in Three Australian Cities NO STORMWATER IN MY TEA CUP Figure 1: Location of study cities.
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