Large businesses and institutions south of Heavitree Gap in Alice Springs will soon be taking advantage of recycled water at their properties as the Alice Water Smart Reuse Project aims to reduce consumption of potable (drinking) water by replacing it with recycled water for horticultural and irrigation purposes, writes Les Seddon, Alice Water Smart Project Manager.
An Alice Springs friend visiting Adelaide recently sent this photo which she captioned "Gutter dreaming" – her regret being the lost opportunities to green our town's public spaces by harvesting rainwater.
This is relevant to the debate in Town Council this week about the pros and cons of concreting our street infrastructure, which has developed apace in recent years. Mayor Damien Ryan expressed his unhappiness at the prospect of another concrete roundabout, this time likely to be at the intersection of Undoolya Road and Sturt Terrace (see separate story). Council's Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton, defended the approach on the basis of deterioration to road surfaces caused by watering plantings.
But it doesn't have to be like that, explains Mike Gillam, who on his commercial property in Hele Crescent uses an approved water-harvesting and retention system to cultivate a desert garden. The Alice Springs News Online asked Mr Gillam to explain what is going on in the Adelaide photo.
The public will be doing the heavy lifting in the bid to reduce water use by one sixth of the current consumption over the next two years. Just 14% of the 1.6 billion liter reduction will come from the Power and Water Corporation, by phasing in recycled water for irrigation south of the Gap. This is despite the fact that Power and Water will get the lion's share of the $15m Alice Water Smart funding. The rest of the water savings – 86% – will come from consumers cutting back, mostly by turning down the lawn watering tap which is currently using up more than half of the town's supply. Meanwhile, almost twice as much as we're trying to save, close to three billion liters, is being evaporated each year in the sewage treatment plant, water lost to the town forever as the vapour drifts wherever the wind may take it. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Google Earth photo showing the expanse of the sewage evaporation ponds. Around three billion liters of water are wasted each year. The Alice Springs News Online published a comprehensive dossier on the sewage plant in 1998.