Atherstone & Toolern to be Water Neutral
Did you know that Toolern is working hard to be water neutral?
What means is that excess stormwater from the neighbourhood’s wetlands will be sent to Melton Reservoir where it can be accessed by the surrounding farmlands.
In April 2016 Western Water installed a $900,000, 8 tonne storm water pump station into Toolern (that includes a pipeline from Atherstone) which will capture 150 million litres of water per year. This water gets treated to remove pollutants before it is then sent out to the irrigators for agricultural use.
The role of the station is to prevent excess water from damaging the water flow and therefore the greater ecosystem of Toolern Creek. But it also treats the water and reuses it for other practical purposes which helps utilise nature to minimise water usage and wastage – a particularly insightful invention given the volume of rain Victoria experienced this year.
First it starts at the wetlands where the stormwater is captured. Not only do the wetlands act as a way to encourage the indigenous birdlife to flourish in its natural habitat, they are actually also a filter system to remove dust and dirt particles from the water which are nutrient rich for the plant life.
Because Western Water’s Toolern Stormwater Harvesting Project’s contribution of water is so significant in terms of volume, this means the residents of Toolern and Atherstone will receive a higher drinking water allocation too from Merrimu Reservoir.
The Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville says of the initiative: “Residents of these new suburbs in Melton South will use around half the amount of drinking water of residents living in areas without these sorts of water management initiatives.”
The Toolern Stormwater Harvesting Project is a pilot project that has been specifically created to be replicated on a larger scale. By 2045 it is hoped that a stormwater harvesting scheme could be set up that captures over 3,000 million litres of stormwater annually.
So when you’re next enjoying a walk around the open spaces of the Atherstone wetlands, remember that you and your 12,000 neighbours are all contributing to the ultimate in reusing and recycling water for the greater good.