Stormwater Reuse Project

Stormwater Reuse Project

The management, harvesting and reuse of stormwater can increase the resilience and amenity of Wheatbelt communities, as well as decrease the reliance and ongoing cost of using the reticulated water supply for the watering of town ovals, parks and gardens.
Delivery Organisation
Wheatbelt NRM

Rebecca Palumbo

Operations Manager

Phone: 08 9670 3100

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) along with partner Wheatbelt NRM, has provided resources to regional Western Australian local government authorities to plan and implement best practice stormwater management infrastructure in wheatbelt towns. DAFWA's experience and expertise in assisting regional towns to use locally sourced water, such as through the Rural Towns Program, has placed the department in an ideal position to lead this project. Many rural communities are faced with an annual dilemma — they cannot afford expensive, drinking quality scheme water for irrigation over summer, nor can they allow their well-utilised and highly valued community sports grounds to die. Improved stormwater management practices, when combined with total water cycle planning, provides the opportunity to optimise the use and reuse of this very precious resource, resulting in benefits to the community and environment. This transition towards a more water sensitive wheatbelt town is critical to building resilience in regional WA to the effects of climate change. If implemented, these strategies provide an efficient, reliable and safe water supply for communal use.


What is stormwater harvesting?


Stormwater harvesting involves collection and reuse of runoff from the stormwater drainage scheme that would otherwise end up in natural drainage systems. While the approach to stormwater harvesting differs between locations, the elements include: Collection of rainwater from roofs, hardstands, sports areas, road surfaces, town drains or creek lines. Temporary storage of runoff water in excavated sumps or tanks (above or below ground). Water transfer to larger storage units, a process known as 'bulking up'. Passive infiltration or injection of stormwater into a suitable groundwater aquifer (this option is limited by the site). Reticulation to distribution locations, most commonly irrigation points or to a standpipe. An example of an effective stormwater harvesting and reuse scheme is the town of Wagin. DAFWA has helped the Shire of Wagin design and implement a whole townsite water management scheme for water conservation and salinity control purposes. Stormwater capture and reuse is an important component of that scheme. In places like Wagin affected by salinity, rising groundwater and waterlogging in the townsite is being managed with a comprehensive borefield installed to dewater the local aquifer. Coupled with this strategy, the Shire is capturing most of its stormwater and much of the town catchment runoff with a 6000 cubic metre weir across one of the main town drains. The high quality surface water is then pumped back up-slope to the 25 000 cubic metre ‘Brown’ dam (see photo below), from which the town sports oval and other recreational sites are irrigated. Stormwater reuse can convert townsite runoff, which may be considered a nuisance or threat, into a productive resource that sustains a community’s wellbeing by maintaining a sports ground that is a source of local identity and pride.

  • Functional stormwater harvesting and reuse schemes that reduce demand on drinking quality town water supplies.
  • Increased community amenity using fit-for-purpose water supplies for community benefit, for example sports grounds, parks, public gardens and street-scaping.
  • Reduce the financial burden of expensive water bills.
Did you know?
Reusing stormwater for the supplemental watering of parks and gardens improves the social and visual amenity of our much-loved towns. The harvesting and use of stormwater has multiple benefits. In the Avon River Basin Local Governments use approximately 990 million litres of water from the Goldfields and Agricultural Water Supply (GAWS) of which around 50% is used on parks and gardens. The economic cost is in the vicinity of $1.28 million each year. Environmentally, stormwater management can decrease pressures on waterways by minimising sediments, nutrients and pollutants entering the systems.
Countryman - Kulin 130613.pdf5th September 2014