Water Journal : Water Journal July 2011
water JULY 2011 51 • Construction of a bio-retention filter and surface wetland to provide treatment of the harvested stormwater and membrane filtration reject; • Development and implementation of a site-wide SCADA and control system for all water infrastructures. Drinking water and recycled water at Point Grey (WA): Point Grey is a proposed 3,400-lot residential development located south of Perth and remote from Water Corporation infrastructure. Due to the potentially high costs of connecting to the scheme, Port Bouvard is currently investigating the onsite production of drinking water from groundwater and the treatment and reuse of wastewater within the development. The proposed approach at Point Grey embodies the concept 'Local Water -- Local Source/Local Treatment/Local Reuse'. Recycled water at Pitt Town (Blue Mountains, NSW): Johnson Property Group (JPG) is currently developing 640 new residential lots adjacent to the existing Pitt Town village at the foot of the Blue Mountains in NSW. Faced with significant costs to connect to a conventional sewerage system, JPG explored other options and ultimately selected Water Factory Company to construct and operate a local treatment facility. An added benefit of the local treatment approach is that it enables recycled water to be provided back to residents via dual reticulation. Dr Nicola Nelson, from Sydney Water, presented the role of decentralised systems in Sydney Water covering the following areas: • Private providers: Key drivers, government targets, green credentials, Water Industry Competition Act 2006, eco- friendliness, unrestricted water supply and drought-proofing; • What Sydney Water's doing: Supporting sewer mining schemes, understanding the impact of private schemes, research, ongoing assessment as servicing option; • Supporting sewer mining: Policy developed on a cost recovery basis, SW network not exposed to any undue risk, be aware of schemes at an early stage, support provided from concept to implementation, currently about 30 new schemes proposed; • Challenges: Cost, complexity, timing and phasing of projects, no guarantees of payback, business risk, economies of scale to manage, service provider of last resort. Finally, Terry Leckie, of the Water Factory Company (WFC), gave a presentation about the establishment of NSW's first private water utility for residential clients. WFC is the first private company to be issued with an operating license in NSW, and provides a service that has, up until now, only been provided by public utilities to residential and commercial communities in cities, in high-rise development neighbourhoods and remote locations. WFC turns large environmental waste into a cost-effective resource. Its projects provide developers and communities with local and decentralised water solutions, including the landmark Sydney sustainability developments, Discovery Point, with its 2,500 residents, and Fraser's Central Park with its 2,000 residents. WFC's first project is a 1,000 residential development at Pitt Town. Mr Leckie outlined the benefits to developers, customers, utilities, councils, communities and government, and explained the barriers facing the decentralised systems. The workshop was facilitated by Peter Devellerez of Parsons Brinckerhoff, WA. Workshop Outcomes The workshop was attended by a variety of delegates including scientists, engineers, service providers and practising water professionals from Government Departments, consultancies, research institutes and universities. The three speakers presented case studies which acted as catalysts for the delegates to engage in a workshop identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for decentralised systems. The delegates identified the following: STRENGTHS • Reduced political risk • Flexibility • Tailoring systems to local needs • More options -- fit for use • Autonomy • Controlling destiny • Allowing projects to proceed • Strengthening community • Development in remote locations • Independent network capital • Lower/reduced start-up costs (developers/community) • Ownership of existing sources (local water management) • "Green" advantages • Speed of delivery. WEAKNESSES • Ongoing maintenance • Ethical obligation to continue operation • Who is responsible? Who picks up the pieces? • Still 'unproven' in Australian context • Local compliance • Limited utility acceptance • Regulatory • Design approval • Ongoing verification -- Special Report Nicola Nelson of Sydney Water, presenting the topic, The Role of Decentralised Systems in Sydney Water.
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