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Water catchment project implementedPosted in College Community,General Notices,Sustainability on Friday, 16 March, 2018

Mandurah Catholic College has commenced work on a major water sustainability initiative.

The Water Management and Sustainability Project was proposed by Mr Keith Kingham, College Property Manager, and has won the enthusiastic support of the College Board and Executive.

Stage One is well underway and entails the installation of two large tanks (2700 litre-capacity each) adjacent to the College maintenance shed and a 9000 litre-capacity tank at the nearby pump house to catch water runoff from surrounding buildings.

By catching and storing rainwater, the College’s heavy reliance on bore water will be alleviated and usage minimised. The College operates two bore systems – one at the rear of the College, the other at the front – and both bores are metered. Regulations state that each month the Water Authority must be notified of usage levels and these levels are restricted.

“Hence we have to use our water very carefully as there is only a certain allocated amount that we are allowed to use,” said Mr Kingham.

He has estimated that rainwater run-off from the College’s maintenance shed alone is 150,000 litres annually, but restricted space doesn’t allow tanks with the capacity to capture that large a volume to be installed.

“Bore water is used to reticulate all lawns and garden areas on the College site. The front bore is high in iron, and it is planned that the rainwater will be mixed with the bore water in a reticulation holding tank to reduce iron levels as well as lower bore water consumption,” Mr Kingham explained. “If we dilute with a 50/50 mix we should get through a summer season before stored water supplies are depleted.

“We will also introduce soil wetting agents to the reticulation tank to improve water saturation and that will further reduce water usage.”

The rainwater storage system will also serve as a viable back-up option in the event of groundwater catchments  being reduced or altered. “If anything goes wrong, for example the groundwater salinity or iron levels rise and are detrimental to the lawns and gardens, we can still maintain our grounds and do so basically for free,” said Mr Kingham. “It won’t be an issue if groundwater levels drop or if our usage allowance is reduced.”

And from an aesthetically pleasing perspective, the staining caused by bore water will be minimised. The College Maintenance Team recently completed an extensive stain removal project, removing all bore stains from limestone walls and pillars, including the boundary limestone and wrought iron fencing bordering the College frontage.

It is anticipated Stage One of the Water Management and Sustainability Project will be fully implemented by the end of this month. The rainwater tanks have been purchased and plumbing is currently being installed from the rear of the shed to the reticulation tank at the front of the College grounds.

Stage Two proposes that the rear bore is supplemented with water run-off from the College gymnasium. “We initially need to look at plans for development on site and find suitable locations for more tanks with consideration of planned builds,” said Mr Kingham.