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Friday, April 13, 2012

Watering the local future

Developments in sustainability at Armstrong Creek raise questions about equivalent 'master planned developments' in the Drysdale & Clifton Springs area, such as Central Walk and the huge Jetty Road Growth Area.

Armstrong Creek's Warralily estate will be the first residential estate in Greater Geelong to have access to Class A recycled water from Barwon Water's recycled water plant at Black Rock. In total, Barwon Water is investing more than $150m in water and sewerage infrastructure at Armstrong Creek, including a $4m recycled water tank at Mount Duneed. This tank will hold water from Black Rock, delivering it throughout Warralily via a 'purple pipe' network that can be used for flushing toilets, watering gardens and washing cars. The network will also be used to water major green spaces in the estate. It's estimated that the purple pipe network will save the equivalent of 2,400 million litres of drinking water each year. In a related sustainability feature, storm water will be captured and stored for use on Warralily's regional sporting facilities. (Sources:;; My Coastal Home, Autumn 2012 p27)

This is all very good news for anyone concerned about the environmental impact of the massive housing developments planned for the Bellarine Peninsula. however, it raises the question, why can't equivalent environmentally-friendly features be included in all new estates, not just Warralily?

Water efficient estates - a win for everyone
Water conservation is a crucial social issue, even after the end of the recent drought. Global warming is likely to bring us more droughts in the future (as well as more - and stronger - storms), so we need new housing estates in which water awareness and water efficiency are built-in to the design. At a minimum, developers should be required to build 'water efficient' estates, in which the amount of water leaving an estate is kept to an absolute minimum through recycling systems. Ideally, each estate should also include a 'purple pipe' network connected to a recycling station such as Black Rock.

Such water efficiency requirements needn't necessarily be seen as an 'onerous imposition', as 'more red tape' or as 'over-regulation'. As the developers of Warralily are showing, water efficiency and sustainability can be strong positives, adding to a development's attraction and value. Annual state and national awards for water efficiency and sustainability would reinforce its economic value while offering competitors the chance to 'add value' to their company's brand and identity. This would be a win for developers, for the environment and for households and communities. Further, requiring new estates to be water efficient and sustainable would encourage the emergence and growth of small businesses in which specialised tradespeople would provide, install and maintain the various water efficiency systems as part of a broader strategy to create sustainable, resilient communities.

Lake Lorne - a clarification
On February 7, 2012, drycliftdays included ‘DCSCA meets Cr. Rod Macdonald (8)’. That article included this sentence: ‘We raised the continuing absence of any work on the walking/cycling track around Lake Lorne, first raised by DCSCA many years ago.'

The phrase, ‘the continuing absence of any work on the walking/cycling track’ pointed to the absence at that time of any construction work. However, the phrase could be read as saying that no work at all had happened since DCSCA first suggested the walking track. That certainly wasn’t the intention. DCSCA has been among the stakeholders who have been involved in ongoing consultations with the City of Greater Geelong about the walking track and earlier posts on this blog have reported the council's efforts to turn the idea of the track into a reality.

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