A City of Whittlesea sports reserve will be among the best in the region thanks to a rainwater harvesting and recycling system being built as part of the Melbourne Wholesale Markets Relocation project in Epping.
The home ground of the Sporting Whittlesea Panthers soccer club, the RGC Cook Reserve, will soon be connected to the innovative new system, meaning the club will no longer have to rely on mains water for irrigation.
- Other reserves to benefit will include:
- Whittlesea Public Gardens, Lalor
- HR Uren Reserve, Thomastown
Future Mosaic football ovals, Lalor
The $9.4 million rainwater harvesting and recycling system will receive $4.7 million in Australian Government funding through the Water for the Future initiative, with the remaining funding provided by the Victorian Coalition Government and the City of Whittlesea.
Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine said when the rainwater harvesting system was fully operational it would reduce the reliance on Victoria's drinking water by 68 million litres each year.
"That is the equivalent of recycling 26 Olympic-size swimming pools of water every year," Dr Napthine said.
"The full harvesting system has two parts. Firstly, water from the market's 40 hectares of pavement areas will be drained into man-made wetlands in the south east of the market site, cleaned naturally and then pumped to the four local sports reserves.
"In addition, water collected from the 110,000 square metre roof of the main market building will also be cleaned and pumped back into the market facility for non-potable uses including toilet flushing, cleaning and irrigation," Dr Napthine said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator Don Farrell said the Melbourne Wholesale Markets Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Project was an example of the Australian Government partnering state and local governments to ensure access to drinking water supplies could remain secure in times of drought and water restrictions.
"This project will reduce demand for potable water supplies and allow local communities to make better use of their sports grounds, local parks and gardens throughout the year, while also providing for on-site uses at the markets," Senator Farrell said.
"Securing a sustainable, safe water supply for all Australians is a key priority for the Australian Government, which is being achieved through the Water for the Future initiative."
Representing the club at today's event with several junior Panthers, Vice President Adam Cuschieri said the new irrigation infrastructure was a huge coup for the club and for the community generally.
"Having access to recycled water to irrigate the ground during all seasons will ensure the quality of the ground's playing surface is maintained right throughout the year," Mr Cuschieri said.
"With the RGC Cook Reserve being at the heart of our club, it's great to see steps being taken to ensure it remains one of the best for soccer in the district."
City of Whittlesea Councillor Rex Griffin said the market's rainwater harvesting and recycling system was important to both council and its community.
"This is a great example of making the most of our natural resources and the City of Whittlesea is proud to be involved in such an important initiative," Cr Griffin said.
"Local community and sporting groups like the Sporting Whittlesea Panthers FC are the real winners here."
The tender for the first stage of the irrigation works is expected to be awarded by the end of June. All works to connect the four reserves to the system are anticipated to be completed in 2013.
The construction of the new Epping market facility continues, with steel work on the main trading floor building nearing completion. Works are also just about to begin for the massive asphalting job around the market buildings.
The new facility, along with its rainwater harvesting and recycling system, is expected to be completed in 2014/2015.