St Clair Wetlands Tour - 23 February 2017

Posted: 5 April 2017

St Clair Wetlands TourOn a brisk February morning, twenty SA Young Water Professionals undertook a walking tour of the St Clair Wetlands. City of Charles Sturt Recycled Water Coordinator, Shannon Watkins and wetland designer, Ralph Williams, of Designflow, provided the group with an informative and candid overview of the drivers behind construction of the wetlands, its design and the challenges of maintaining this living, breathing system.
 
The St Clair Wetlands are a key element of the $71.5 million Waterproofing the West- Stage One Project, which also included installation of wetlands and stormwater drainage in Old Port Road, wetlands at the West Lakes Golf Course and Cooke Reserve, River Torrens transfer main, and 36 km of linking and distribution mains. Each year, these assets harvest up to 2,400ML of water, which is then treated and injected into the T2 aquifer, ready for extraction and reuse when required. Excess River Torrens water, which otherwise would have been discharged to the sea, may also be transferred and treated in the system.
 
Since their planting three years ago, the St Clair Wetlands have flourished. Carefully selected flora native to the local area provide valuable habitat for insect, animal and bird life, while also effectively treating captured stormwater to the standard required for aquifer injection. The wetlands also feature interesting physical design elements such as cascades to provide visual evidence that water is moving through the wetlands. Undoubtedly, the wetlands provide a place of beauty and amenity for St Clair’s human inhabitants as well.
 
Like any water infrastructure, the system is not without its operational challenges- the injection bores sometimes clog up with silt, and the system is yet to supply water to the St Clair Development’s third pipe scheme, due to control issues with the disinfection system. That said, the City of Charles Sturt Recycled Water team are working hard to get the whole system up and running.
 
The SA Young Water Professionals wish to thank Shannon and Ralph for their time and knowledgeable tour of the wetlands.