Soil conditioner saves water in Geraldton

Located on the Batavia Coast in Western Australia, the City of Geraldton will be using cutting edge technology to ensure that its redeveloped foreshore area is water smart and efficient.

Initiated in 2002, the foreshore redevelopment is an eight stage project that is due for completion in 2009. It is the biggest project the City of Geraldton has ever undertaken and as such, Council has been very keen to make the development as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.

Council received a Community Water Grant of $45,500 from the Federal Government for the purchase of a soil conditioner.

This hydro absorbent copolymer product, called Terracottem, will be added to the soil of the redeveloped foreshore area, largely reducing the reticulated water requirement. Terracottem has been accredited by the Smart Approved Watermark Scheme, which is managed by Australia’s peak water agencies, for a direct connection between use of the product and water savings.

City of Geraldton’s Environmental Services Coordinator, Mark Wong, said the use of a soil conditioner not only saves water but has many other benefits.

“Not only does it mean greater water efficiency, but it also improves plant and root growth,” he said. “Trials have shown that less fertiliser is needed and it also helps in the survival rate of plants, which is particularly relevant with the new plantings that will occur in the foreshore area.”

This is the second grant the City of Geraldton has received in relation to saving water on the redeveloped foreshore. In 2005 Council was successful in gaining funding to create a process that will reuse stormwater to irrigate the foreshore.

The stormwater will be collected from an industrial site and will be used to recycle and recharge a freshwater lens that overlays a brackish groundwater aquifer. Fresh water is lighter and less dense than salt water, therefore it floats on top of it. A fresh water lens is created when the weight of this fresh water gradually depresses the surface of the saltwater, creating a lens shaped region of fresh water.

A flow control has been installed on each bore depending upon the specific irrigation requirements.

This initiative will further reduce the requirement to purchase valuable Water Corporation scheme water.

For further information contact Mark Wong on (08) 9956 6609.