Stormwater harvesting toolkit

Stormwater Harvesting increases the health of Victorians

The Victorian Department of Health seemed like a strange contender to develop a computer-based Stormwater Harvesting Toolkit.  Normally one would expect a Municipal Association or an industry group to do this.  However, when you look at the health-related issues and costs of providing quality surfaces on sports fields, it all adds up and makes a lot of sense.

As a direct result of drought and water restrictions, many public parks and sports grounds become unplayable or dangerous due to poor condition.  Reliable alternative water supplies are essential to maintain playing surfaces to sustain sports and recreation that are at the heart of community health and well-being.  By this, we mean levels of fitness and general health, social interaction, work productivity, less social displacement, and so on.  The multiplier effects of sport and recreational opportunity are staggering with a large associated avoided cost in health budgets.

The Department of health rightfully identified a nexus between stormwater harvesting and fostering community health and well-being.  However, they were acutely aware that many Councils did not know how to investigate or prioritise such projects.  So they devised the notion of a Stormwater Harvesting Toolkit targeting local government to assist in the feasibility and prioritisation of stormwater harvesting projects across a Municipality.

The toolkit that has been developed is a spreadsheet model with a user-friendly interface that prompts for simple-to-collect inputs.  It processes the information to conduct a preliminary feasibility assessment, then produces a scoping document which can inform government planning and which also serves as a Brief for further investigation and design.

Each project is given a quadruple bottom line assessment which drives the ranking function within the toolkit.  Environmental benefits are calculated as Carbon emissions (fewer and shorter car trips to alternative sports facilities), avoided stormwater pollution and less consumption of potable water supplies.  Putting a dollar value on the health benefits of stormwater harvesting is an Australian first.

The Victorian DoH Stormwater Harvesting Toolkit is an empowering and capacity building tool targeting local government. It is simple to use, yet it produces useful outputs to further projects.

The toolkit is also readily adaptable as a National application, especially if a web-based interface is adopted.

 

The DoH Stormwater Harvesting Toolkit was conferred a 2010 Merit Award of Excellence for Research and Innovation as conferred by Stormwater Victoria.

→ Download the award nomination