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Eastern Park Stormwater Harvesting Project

This project harvests stormwater that used to flow out to Corio Bay.

Water from the drainage system is diverted to the dam where it is stored until required.

We are currently using the water to irrigate newly planted street trees in Geelong. New trees planted in Eastern Park are also being watered with this recycled water.

When the irrigation system is upgraded water from the dam will be used for watering the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Works have begun on a major irrigation upgrade in the Botanic Gardens to make the most of the extra water. 

The project will save up to 30 million litres of mains drinking water annually and improve the quality of the stormwater discharge into Corio Bay.

Location in Eastern Park

The water storage dam is located directly west of Holt Road, off Ryrie Street.

Interestingly our research has found that up until 1925 this exact site in Eastern Park was a lake until it was filled in to create a cricket field.

Historical Map of Eastern Park   1925 Aerial View of Eastern Park

What does it look like?

The system is designed as a stormwater harvesting and reuse system. Harvested water flows through a rock filled sediment pond into an open water body that holds about 4 million litres and takes up an area of approximately 7000 square metres.

35,000 thousands indigenous plants have been introduced around the water's edge to assist in the water cleaning process.

The water storage is built to resemble a natural water body and will improve the existing flora and fauna biodiversity of the area. Ducks and herons have already been spotted enjoy a dip in the collected water. 

A walking path is built around the basin which connects to the Eastern Park Circuit pathway.

Housing for the water treatment and pumping system in the form of a grey coloured structure is located north of the water storage.

Eastern Park Stormwater Harvesting - Artist impression

Pedestrian Safety Concerns

The system is similar to other water bodies around Geelong like Grinter Reserve, McLeods Watering Hole (Drysdale), Ballyang Sanctuary (Highton) or Seagull Paddock (North Geelong).

The slope of the water edges have been designed to Royal Surf Lifesaving Guidelines and the plants, once established, will create a physical barrier to deter access.

Water Depth

From the water’s edge the slope of the batter is gradual for 10 metres before reaching a maximum of 2 metres deep when full.

The system is designed to only draw off the top 1 metre for re-use. Water will always be in the basin unless we have abnormally long dry periods.

Where will the water come from?

Rainfall falling on a 47 hectare suburban area of East Geelong adjacent to Geelong High School flows into the existing stormwater pipes and is then diverted into the system instead of flowing into the open concrete channel, between the East Geelong Golf Club and CSIRO.

Being predominantly an older suburban catchment the stormwater quality is very good.

Heritage, Cultural and Environmental significance considerations

A significant amount of investigation has been undertaken to determine the impact of this project on the existing flora, fauna and rich heritage values of this site. A flora and fauna study provided us with a thorough understanding of the site and determined where the best locations for infrastructure would be.

No trees required removal as part of the project.  In fact new trees have been added to the ring of Red Gums surrounding the dam.

Heritage Victoria granted a permit for this projects creation. 

Our Sustainable Water Use Plan identified the Geelong Botanic Gardens in the top 10 water users for Council. The Botanic Gardens is a unique natural and cultural resource for our community.

This project has been modelled to replace approximately 90% of the 30 million litre water demand at this site. The water will also be available for Council’s ongoing tree maintenance and establishment program within and around Eastern Park.

Mosquito Concerns

Mosquitoes thrive in stagnant and shallow water. This system has been designed to replenish itself approximately 20 times a year. Therefore the water will be constantly turned-over with new stormwater supplies.

The water is shallower around the edges for safety but most of the water is too deep for mosquito breeding. The site has been added to Council’s sites to monitor for mosquito populations and will be treated if required.

Water Quality

The stormwater comes from an old suburban area of East Geelong with no runoff from industry. We have a high reuse demand for this water and inflows are approximately 70million litres per year.

The water will turnover around 20 times a year and greatly reduce the risk of the water becoming stagnant, unsightly and smelly.

A litter trap has been installed prior to the water body to capture everything down to 5mm in size and reduce heavy metals and phosphorous loads.

Vegetation has been designed around the edges of the water to assist in the removal of nutrients.

The water is treated with a sand filter to break all particles down to 200 micron in size and ultra violet light to reduce ecoli and pathogens before being used as irrigation. 

Works Schedule

This project is now complete and open the public. 

Thousands of indigenous plants have been planted around the water's edge to assist in the water cleaning process. The plantings will take between one and two years to establish. 

Project Funding

The Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative has contributed $415,000 and Council $515,000 to this $930,000 project.

Relocation of Soil

The spoil generated from the excavation has been used to improve the level of the adjacent oval number 3. The remaining spoil was used to create a slightly raised embankment on the eastern side of the water storage.

This embankment forms the base for the pathway for visitors. No soil was required to be taken offsite greatly reducing the need for heavy vehicles to leave the site and disturb the surrounding neighbourhood.

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