Research focus: Urban Water

The Urban Water theme supported the development and implementation of an Integrated Water Plan for South Australia’s urban areas.

The planning for future supply, when water availability and reliability may vary substantially across South Australia, is complex and requires a flexible approach. Water planning must consider the quantity and quality of all current and potential water resources in each region along with the costs and benefits of various strategic water projects and initiatives.

In order for South Australia to develop master plans for effectively managing stormwater and wastewater in Greater Adelaide, the Goyder Institute made several contributions to the development of the South Australian Stormwater Strategy and to the Urban Water Blueprint.

The use of alternative water sources for fit-for-purpose water supplies were examined. This included options for stormwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and desalination.

During Phase 1, the Goyder Institute commissioned research into:

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

Water conservation, water quality improvement, flood control and a healthy living environment are just some of the benefits that can be delivered by Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). Despite these benefits, WSUD has not been widely adopted in South Australia.

The aim of this project is to find out why South Australia has not experienced mainstream uptake of WSUD, before addressing those barriers and identifying opportunities to encourage the implementation of sustainable urban design which is tailored to the state’s specific needs and conditions.

The project is evaluating the uptake and effectiveness of various WSUD approaches for water quantity, quality and flood mitigation, delivering:

Information gathered from this project should improve uptake of WSUD in South Australia, while minimising impact on infrastructure and the environment and maximising long-term benefits for the community. Results area also linked with another key project, Optimal Water Resources Mix for Adelaide.

For more detailed information download the Project Fact Sheet

A second project, WSUD Impediments & Opportunities, consisted of three components:

The project team worked closely with Local Government to bring together a comprehensive understanding of WSUD interventions that have been installed throughout Adelaide and the effectiveness of these interventions. Several Technical Reports (13/11, 14/3, 14/16 and 14/19) have been published on the website.

WSUD Phase 2:  Resolving key impediments to WSUD in SA

The third project in this theme investigated the technical knowledge needed for the development of a framework for integrating WSUD strategies into stormwater management plans. The project also examined the policy instruments and pathways for implementation of WSUD into stormwater management plans with a strong emphasis on uptake by local government. This project had strong linkages with several NRM Boards and local government councils.

Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options (MARSUO)

As Australia’s population grows, especially in urban areas, there is increased demand for water supplies for all types of uses.

Urban stormwater is a relatively untapped resource that could help us meet future water supply demands. If natural aquifers (any geological formation capable of receiving, storing and transmitting significant quantities of water) are present beneath a city, they may be used for convenient storage and additional treatment of urban stormwater.

The MARSUO project, using Adelaide as a case study, provided the South Australian Government with information to confidently assess the range of stormwater use options for the city, with particular emphasis on addressing water safety issues and community acceptance.

Research outcomes were also used to develop a national approach to assessing stormwater and managed aquifer recharge options, which can be applied around Australia.

The catchment risk assessment approach developed in MARSUO has been adopted by Water Proofing the South and Water Proofing the West projects and National Guidelines were developed for Managed Aquifer Recharge with the National Water Commission.

Several Technical Reports (13/3, 13/10, 13/17, 13/18, 14/1, and 14/7) have been published on the website.

View the MARSUO Science Synthesis Paper.

Optimal Water Mix for Metropolitan Adelaide

Metropolitan Adelaide has many sources of water to supply the city’s needs including:

Determining the optimal mix of these sources is critical to ensure an efficient and sustainable water supply for Adelaide.

The Optimal Water Resources Mix for Adelaide project considered a range of important objectives including supply security, economic costs, social preferences and environmental impacts.

The knowledge gained from this project assisted with the development of an integrated water management plan for Adelaide and may benefit other cities and urban regions throughout Australia.

For more detailed information download the Project Fact Sheet.

Several Technical Reports (14/2, 14/12, 14/14, 14/15 and 14/17) and a final synthesis report (Technical Report 14/20)  are available on the website.