Clarence recycled water scheme takes out Tas Excellence Awards

Association of Tasmania Awards for Excellence were announced on 31 May. Clarence City Council took out the overall award, as well as the Sustainable Communities Asset Award for its recycled water scheme.

Located on the eastern shore of the Derwent River in southeast Tasmania, Clarence is one of the driest regions in the State. In 2001, after extensive discussions with local stakeholders, Council submitted a successful application for $8.4 million in National Heritage Trust funds to assist in reducing the effluent and nutrients discharged into the Derwent estuary from the Rosny Treatment Plant. Council contributed $3 million of its own funds. A further $5 million in kind, construction and infrastructure commitment was contributed by both Council and local agricultural concerns to start the project.

As a result, recycled water was first used for agriculture last September. Around 2,700 megalitres of recycled water can now be pumped to 100 Tasmanian growers over a 5,000 hectare area each year. Different amounts of water are distributed for varying uses. For example, broadacre agribusinesses, such as the local golf course, receive around 250 megalitres per year, while small horticultural and viticultural users receive less than 10 megalitres per year.

West Coast Council won the Building Better Futures through Governance Award for its West Coast LPG project. Council is saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by converting its vehicles to LPG. Council is also encouraging the community to use LPG by providing LPG outlets. This is creating revenue for Council, while also providing a cheaper fuel alternative for residents. The initiative aims to reduce Council’s greenhouse gas emissions by 23 per cent or 70,000 tonnes per annum.

Huon Valley Council received the Developing Communities Award. Council is providing free health screenings for all staff during work hours as part of its Workplace Health Program. The tests screen several health aspects such as blood pressure, skin cancer, vision, body mass index and diabetes.

The Innovation and Creativity Award was won by Brighton Council. Council has simplified and streamlined the rate estimation process using a software package to run rates estimates for all Councils. The program also enables elected members to easily convey to ratepayers how their rates are calculated.

Glenorchy City Council took out the Invigorating Communities Award with Operation Bounce Back. Recognising that car theft usually affects community members who can least afford it, Council developed an education program to reduce the risk of theft.

An information kit was distributed to residents, signs have been installed in shopping centres and car parks and television ads are regularly aired. As a result, there has been a three per cent reduction in car thefts in the Glenorchy area, compared to a 19 per cent increase statewide.