WA Workshop Review: Perth Water - Catch it if you can

23 November 2016

Written by Tara Zirakbash

As we move closer to the end of the year, there is no better way than gathering together to celebrate our success throughout 2016.

The Australian Water Association WA Branch Professional Development sub-committee with sponsorship and facilitation from Emerge Associates and Josh Byrne Associates delivered a half day workshop Perth Water – Catch it if you can, the last technical event in 2016. The key feature of the workshop was sharing knowledge with other water professionals as part of our journey towards increased sustainability. The workshop was held on 23 November at Perth Zoo and outlined techniques to maximise the water potential of local catchments.

The workshop was an outstanding combination of slide-show presentations and group activities with handouts prepared for individuals on three case studies in residential and local scales. A wide variety of industry professionals present were divided into working groups of 6, so that each group could impart their knowledge more efficiently.

Peter Spencer, Australian Water Association Professional Development Sub-Committee member, MC’ed the afternoon. Rachel Evans, Senior Consultant  from Emerge Associates, kicked off the proceedings by setting the scene of Perth local water catchment management practices and how the workshop could help to resolve the issues.

Josh Byrne and Dr. Stewart Dallas from Josh Byrne and Associates presented the first case study in a residential infill site. The attendees actively took part in calculations and the result proved how practical solutions could simply reduce the water consumption enormously.

The second case study was presented by Dave Coremans, Emerge Associates, on delivering open space amenity in a development site. Each group was engaged in evaluating different options and coming up with solutions to design the site and calculate the amount of essential water for their plan. At the end each group enthusiastically discussed their strategies and the resultant numbers with others in the workshop. The discussion was highly beneficial to outline how creativity and collaborating with other experts could bring about several possible solutions for sustainable planning.

The third case study was led jointly by Rachel Evans and Dr. Stewart Dallas on an existing community space with attendees and presenters interactively working together to identify potential solutions/opportunities considering the existing use of the space.  Discussions centred around the practicality of certain solutions considering the variability (temporally and spatially) of the use of community spaces.  Maximising opportunities of existing assets, including drainage catchments, was also discussed.

The whole workshop event was topped off with networking drinks and snacks in the beautiful Perth Zoo gardens giving an opportunity for participants to discuss the afternoons workshop and debate some of the issues raised.  The workshop format, which was well received by attendees, was aimed at encouraging interactive engagement between water professionals in order to achieve practical application of theoretical understanding.

Emerge Associates is a Perth based environmental consultancy and landscape architectural practice with capabilities in the areas of hydrology, ecology, environmental planning, contaminated land/acid sulfate soils, and landscape design and implementation.  Emerge Associates support many sectors including urban development, mining and resources, infrastructure and utilities, agriculture, industrial and commercial. Our hydrology team is made up of highly experienced scientists, engineers and catchment management specialists with capabilities in understanding, assessing and interpreting hydrology, hydraulics and hydrogeology so that the most effective water management approach can be applied to any project or situation. 

JBA explored how taking an integrated approach to water efficiency and alternative water sources can make a serious contribution to reducing mains water consumption in new residential infill development. JBA trust participants enjoyed the collegial atmosphere and were able to take away something new from the afternoon’s workshop. JBA has recently added some useful water-related resources to its updated website for those who may be interested in learning more. Please visit their website for fore information.

Thank you again to our sponsors - Emerge Associates and Josh Byrne and Associates.