EcoForum conference

Monday, 11 January, 2010

Delegates at the EcoForum Conference & Exhibition in Sydney on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February 2010 will hear about what is possibly the first indirect-to-potable stormwater harvesting project in Australia.

Presenter Chris Devitt from the drought-stricken city of Orange, New South Wales, describes how his council found a long-term, sustainable solution to a steady decline in water storage levels that had reached as low as 26.7% in August 2008.

The Blackmans Swamp Stormwater Harvesting Project evolved from concept to operational reality within 18 months at a cost of $5 million and is capable of providing Orange with 800 ML of additional water each year, meeting up to 15% of the city’s total water needs.

“It certainly is becoming apparent to us that what we have is quite unique,” Chris Devitt says. “Because we've been so embedded in the project for so long it has become part of our standard operating procedures. It’s not until someone external has a look at it that the project's true value becomes apparent. This was highlighted when Engineers Australia gave us its Environmental Engineering Excellence Award at its national awards in Canberra, in a field that contained the top 50 engineering projects in all disciplines across Australia.

“And it’s not that tricky. The technology is very simple, everyday stuff - pipes, pumps, weirs and so on. What's different is how we've used it to push into uncharted territory and an area that was previously a no-go zone - adding stormwater to potable supplies. Now the industry has a real live model that others can build from to hopefully achieve the same outcomes.”

No shortage of water topics at EcoForum

The stormwater harvesting project is just one of the innovations to be featured in the EcoForum Water and wastewater technologies stream. The session titles of this two-day conference are:

  • Irrigation and water resources
  • Carbon and efficiency
  • Urban water management
  • Challenges in water recycling
  • Stormwater harvesting
  • Water from coal seam gas
  • Energy and water
  • Coping with water shortages

Further details are available at

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