Innovative B-Pods water trees as climate changes

Article image - Innovative B-Pods water trees as climate changes City of Burnside’s innovative system diverts stormwater runoff to young trees.

The innovative use of a system of underground tanks has improved the way City of Burnside Council, South Australia, supports its street trees. 

Urban areas are a challenging environment for street trees, especially where they are surrounded by roads, driveways, footpaths and buildings. 

These hard surfaces stop water getting into the soil where the trees can access it. With decreasing rainfall, the problem will only worsen. 

Burnside’s Coordinator Capital Projects, David Kenworthy, devised a system to keep street trees watered using waste water that would otherwise simply go down the drain.

A series of tanks he named Burnside Pods, or B-Pods, are placed beside the trees planted in the verge. 

Each 150-litre tank is wrapped in special fabric which prevents soil from getting in, but allows water to flow out into the surrounding soil. 

The key to the success of this system is the source of the water. 

To avoid water pooling around buildings, houses have a stormwater pipe to take excess rainwater from the roof out to the street and into stormwater drains and local creeks. 

The B-Pod system situated in the verge, intercepts the stormwater pipe from the house, before the water gets to the street.

Kenworthy’s design not only has environmental benefits for water management and supports healthy trees, the tanks are also made from recycled plastic.

Council’s Urban Forestry Officer, Tom Jolley explained the importance of the project, “Trees have environmental and social benefits – they make Burnside a cooler, greener, more liveable city. 

“B-Pods are important because they improve the growing environment and therefore reduce tree maintenance costs.” 

City of Burnside now has approximately 250 B-Pods in place. 

The B-Pods are typically installed alongside young trees to help them become established and then will support them as they mature and for years to come, saving water and improving the health of the urban forest.