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Case study: How this local council funded a managed aquifer recharge project

The City of Kalamunda’s Hartfield Park Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) project has been eight years in development, originally stemming from its 2010 Hartfield Park Master Plan, which had identified a need for additional irrigated community sports fields at the multi-use reserve.

Due to insufficient groundwater allocations, alternative water sources to ensure the long-term sustainability of the site were investigated, and the MAR concept subsequently developed.

“Essentially, we take water from a main stormwater drain, filter it and then direct-inject it into the Leederville aquifer, which is a semi-confined aquifer,” City of Kalamunda Water Projects Manager Daniel Nelson said.

Nelson stated that the council had initially committed around $100,000 towards research and development, with the project subsequently receiving additional funding of $1 million as part of a greater state government election pledge of $6 million to deliver the Hartfield master plan.

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Given the long-term nature of the project and the demands of managing council resources, Nelson said funding flexibility was important, stating that “if there were really strict timelines on the funding source we would have had to abandon a lot of the project”.

“Whoever takes on a project like that really needs to own it and make it theirs,” he said.

“You really need someone to champion the project, particularly when you’re looking to do something slightly different.

"It took a long time to get approvals through the relevant State Government departments, specifically for the water harvesting project.”

Nelson stated that the goal had initially been to secure 50,000 kL per year, offsetting an extra 5 ha of playing space, with studies revealing the potential to go to 250,000 kL at full-scheme.

“We conducted a successful three-year trial, and now have the support to go to a full-scheme system, and are currently implementing the full-scheme system infrastructure over two financial years,” he said.

First published as 'Funding the field'  in Current magazine April 2019.

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