About 40 industry leaders and local government representatives discussed the benefits and challenges of stormwater harvesting at an information session hosted by Barwon Water and the G21 Geelong Region Alliance yesterday, 31 May 2010.
The session was facilitated by stormwater expert, Monash University Associate Professor Tim Fletcher, a member of Barwon Water's independent expert advisory panel.
The City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire were represented, with local developers and government agencies attending.
Professor Fletcher detailed the benefits of stormwater harvesting as a viable alternative water supply. He said obvious benefits included flood reduction, improved landscape amenity, protecting creeks and waterways, and reducing the urban heat island effect.
While Professor Fletcher explained the benefits of harvesting stormwater, he stressed the need for solutions to restore base water flows. Returning flows into rivers, creeks and groundwater can be achieved with simple and typically inexpensive water sensitive urban design principles such as swale drains, rain gardens, wetlands and rainwater tanks.
Cooperative arrangements between authorities, councils, residential management committees and body corporates are required for successful stormwater projects.