Posts Tagged ‘water’

Food-Security and Water-Security in the Urban Context

Posted in Research, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on June 20th, 2013


Image: CRC for Water-Sensitive Cities

Image: CRC for Water-Sensitive Cities

From The urban water-energy-food nexus by Prof. Tony Wong:


Australia’s water consumption is dominated by agricultural uses, followed by consumptions in cities (domestic and industrial) and for electricity generation principally to meet demands in our cities. Our communities have an important role in managing demands. Our consumption of food, energy and water remains inefficient. We waste more than 30% of food produced, we are only beginning to recycle our wastewater for non-drinking purposes, and we do not capture and use the ‘waste heat’ from our electricity production. Transforming our cities to a more sustainable and efficient consumption of resources require socio-technical approaches, starting with a concerted effort to foster community awareness and behavioural change for efficient consumption of water, energy and food. Exploiting the water-energy nexus in urban development, such as district-level tri-generation and the further utilisation of available heat for water disinfection and production of district-level reticulation of hot water, are simple cathartic initiatives to lead this transformation.

The creation of productive landscapes is emerging as a core element of urban green infrastructure strategies. Our cities are water supply catchments with the combined stormwater and wastewater resources exceeding the water consumption in most Australian cities. These resources may be exploited to support a greener city for a multitude of liveability objectives, including the support of productive landscapes ranging from community gardens, to orchards and urban forests.

>> Read the full article by Prof. Tony Wong on the CRC for Water-Sensitive Cities website.

Elemental: Film Screening & Discussion

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on May 31st, 2013

15 June , 2013
6:30 pmto10:00 pm


Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.

The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges river, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect.

Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent.

And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?

Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.

Saturday, 15 June 2013 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM (EST)

The first Melbourne screening of the amazing environmental film ‘ELEMENTAL’ from the Global Oneness Project will be followed by a panel discussion fueled by audience questions – Panel will be (Adam Bandt Greens MP- confirmed), Prof. Stuart Hill(confirmed), and one other TBC – Economist/Environmentalist.

>> Bookings and further information on the Eventbrite page.

International Green IT Awareness Week: Speakers wanted

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on April 25th, 2013



The 2013 Green IT Awareness Week Virtual Conference currently has a call out for speakers.

Technology has positively changed the lives of millions of people globally. However with everything “good”, comes some “bad”. But it isn’t hopeless. There are simple steps you can do to help reduce the impact of technology on the following:

Every modern information based technology runs on electricity.

Electricity use that is based on non-renewable sources such as coal fired plants, creates greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions increase global warming and result in issues such as rising sea levels. For the individual, modifying your computers’ power management settings and turning your PC off when it isn’t in use can save both money and the environment. Switching to renewable energy sources are another great way to avoid greenhouse gas emissions associated with technology.

Every year millions and millions of computers and electronics are thrown into landfill.

For example, in Australia in 2008 over 16 million TVs and computers were thrown into landfill. Within computers and electronics are toxins and contaminants such as lead. They also contain precious non-renewable metals such as gold, silver and copper, which could otherwise be recycled.

You might not think water is a problem for technology however water is used in vast amounts to cool large data centres.

Data Centres are simply buildings specially built to host servers and computers. These server and computers might run your corporate network, or even your Hotmail and Google email accounts. Fresh water is a valuable resource – more valuable than oil in many countries around the world.

From the Green IT website:

What is International Green IT Awareness Week?

The International Green IT Awareness Week is a seven day, multi-time zone, global, online event held annually 1st-7th June. The main outcome of this week is to encourage individuals and organisations to demand more from themselves and their partners, holding each other to account for our impact on the environment.

International Green IT Awareness Week showcases a variety of programs, activities and initiatives hosted both by public and private sector organisations, and individuals globally. The Foundation for IT Sustainability (FFITS.ORG), the initiative organiser, also hosts a major virtual (online) conference during the week that is scheduled across global time zones.

There are speakers from across the globe including: green IT experts, IT industry heavy weights, celebrities, government officials, our board of advisors and our founder speaking through live video conferencing, webcasts, live Q&A sessions and recorded videos. They address critical issues including: the cultural change around green IT, showcasing case studies, discussing research, presenting on practical implementation and implementing best practices for both home and business technology users.


Choose Tap (Water!) in local cafes

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on April 18th, 2013


Choose Tap aims to promote the benefits of drinking tap water as part of a healthy lifestyle and as a positive alternative to bottled water. More than a billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water – but sometimes in Australia we take our quality tap water for granted.

We spend more than $500 million a year on bottled water, which is not only putting greater strain on the environment, it’s an expense we could easily avoid. Melburnians are rightly proud of our tap water, which is primarily sourced from protected natural catchments and requires very little treatment before we drink it. As many have discovered after a trip interstate or overseas, our water is great to drink!

Medical experts agree that during summer, people should drink at least 8 glasses of water per day – more if they have been exercising or outdoors. Water is the best source of hydration and is calorie free – and of course it is an absolute bargain compared to any other drink.

Yarra Valley Water through the Choose Tap program is working in partnership with cafes and restaurants that serve tap water to their customers. Many cafes and restaurants are already serving tap water, as after all, Melbourne has some of the best tasting drinking water in the world!

As part of the program, Yarra Valley Water is providing participating cafes with Choose Tap glass water bottles, fact sheets for customers and staff, as well as a Choose Tap shop front sticker to recognise that they serve tap water.

The program is being launched in High Street Northcote as well as selected businesses across our service area with the scope to roll out across the Yarra Valley Water district (from Stonnington in the South East across to the Yarra Ranges and up North to Wallan) in 2013.

>> See a list of participating Northcote cafes and restaurants here


Creative Suburbs Forum

Posted in Events by Jessica Bird on February 12th, 2013

15 February , 2013
2:00 pmto3:00 pm

6. Creative Suburbs

Are growing, liveable cities and neighbourhoods achievable? Join this interactive forum to find out.

How old will you be in 2040? What sort of place do you want Melbourne to be? It is now obvious that Melbourne’s population will continue to grow. It is also obvious that climate change will have a major effect on how we live. The changes to our lives, and costs, are likely to be significant. Think: transport, electricity, gas and water. However, population growth can be comfortably accommodated, and can positively lead to thriving communities within existing urban growth boundaries. Many of the necessary processes and technologies already exist. The catch is: we must effectively plan now.

That’s where you come in. This is not just a matter for the government, developers, and planning ‘experts’. This forum gives you the chance to nurture the positive ideas, put a blowtorch to the negative ideas, and learn about what can be done to maintain Melbourne as a sustainable and liveable city.

Forum collaborators include: Urban Design Forum, Urban Rethink, Heart Foundation, Deakin University and Planning Institute of Australia and Creative Suburbs.

When:  2pm – 3pm, Friday 15th February
Where: The Shed
River Promenade, Fed Square
>>> This forum is being held as part of the Sustainable Living Festival, check the website to find out more.

From Woody Weeds to Biochar: Mobile Biochar Unit

Posted in Models, Research by Jessica Bird on November 13th, 2012

Screen grab from Central West CMA’s YouTube film .

From the Central West Catchment Management Authority media release “New technology for old problems – mobile biochar unit demo in Nyngan” :


[26/10/12] Nyngan district farmers saw first hand technology which turns invasive native scrub (INS, also known as woody weeds) into an agricultural resource at a Central West Catchment Management Authority (CMA) field day on Thursday last week. The mobile biochar plant was on demonstration on ‘Wilgadale’ and transforms woody waste material into biochar without the conventional costs of chipping and transport. This breaking technology has many potential applications in the Nyngan district and other parts of NSW according to Central West CMA Coordinator Michael Longhurst. ‘Woody weeds are a problem in central west and western NSW and their management is a significant cost to landholders,’ said Mike. ‘This machine transforms woody waste left over from INS treatment into biochar in a smoke free environment. This product can be used locally to improve soil health and sequester carbon.’

Biochar is a type of charcoal which improves soil health by storing water and nutrients when applied to the soil. The process, known as pyrolysis, is the high temperature treatment of biomass such as woody waste converted into biochar. ‘The woody material leftover from INS treatment would have been otherwise raked, burnt into the atmosphere and wasted,’ said Mike. ‘A biochar plant means the costs of an INS management program can be partly offset through creating agricultural by-products. ‘This mobile system also means that the woody material can be processed into biochar without chipping and transporting costs traditional associated with biochar production.’

Fourth generation Nyngan landholder Anthony Gibson hosted the CMA field day on his property ‘Wilgadale’. ‘Woody weeds are a headache for landholders for a number of reasons. They are nightmare to muster through; reduce groundcover and biodiversity; and out-compete useful grasses,’ said Anthony. ‘The machine we’ve had a look at today is turning woody weeds into something much more useable – something we can lock carbon up in and ameliorate the soil. I can see quite a few benefits of it spreading around the landscape. ‘The unit makes good use of something that just gets pushed up into a heap and burnt otherwise at great expense. By turning it into something useful it is a real win-win situation.’

The system was originally designed by the company Earth Systems through a North East CMA (Victoria) project to manage willow removal and dispose of the waste material. The Central West CMA worked in partnership with Earth Systems and the North East CMA to demonstrate the system in central west NSW. […]

You can read the full media release or learn more on Central West CMA’s Youtube channel.

Raingardens popping up at tram and bus Stops

Posted in Models, Movements by Jessica Bird on October 25th, 2012

Source: Melbourne Water

Photo by Melbourne Water via flickr CC

From the Melbourne Water media release ‘Be part of the count toward 10,000 Raingardens

A new public awareness campaign is encouraging Melburnians to build stormwater-filtering ‘raingardens’ to prevent pollution from entering our rivers and creeks. As part of Melbourne Water’s 10,000 Raingardens campaign, commuters will sit among larger-than-life raingarden simulations at tram stops across Melbourne, showing how easily they can help protect local waterways at home.

General Manager Waterways, David Ryan, said stormwater pollution was the biggest threat to the health of the region’s 8400km of rivers and creeks, with the problem increasing the more Melbourne grew. “Stormwater damages our waterways in two ways: by picking up and transporting pollutants and causing erosion,” said Mr Ryan. “Stormwater run-off is the number one polluter of rivers and creeks because of the pollution it carries, such as litter, chemicals and excess nutrients. In urban areas, stormwater runoff flows much faster and there is a lot more of it, compared with undeveloped areas, which causes river bank erosion and threatens the habitat of native animals such as platypus and fish. Raingardens capture stormwater and filter it through layers of sandy soil and plants, which helps slow the rate of runoff to reduce erosion and absorb pollutants that would otherwise end up in rivers and creeks,” he said.

Melbourne Water’s Raingardens campaign aims to see 10,000 raingardens built across Melbourne backyards by 2013.

You can read the full media release here. For more information on raingardens, or how to build one visit


[Keep an eye out for the raingardens at tram and bus stops across Melbourne. Good places to start include, St Kilda Road, Chadstone Shopping Centre, St Kilda Junction, near Camberwell Market, and the bus exchange in Moonee Ponds. – JB]

Energy & Water Consumption Displays (and other good things) in a Melbourne Apartment Building

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on August 22nd, 2012

4 September , 2012
9:30 amto12:30 pm

As the first Green Star Multi-Unit Residential certified project in Victoria, Convesso’s 4 Star Green Star rating represents ‘best practice’ in sustainable construction, with green features including:

  • In-home energy and water consumption displays that give occupants access to real time or historic usage data;
  • Energy efficient lighting and appliances;
  • Water efficient fixtures and fittings;
  • High performance glaze;
  • Superior acoustic treatment; and
  • Ample natural light.

Join a GBCA (Green Building Council Australia) tour for to see these ESD features and more in action prior to full occupation of the development.

Date: Tuesday 4 September 2012

  • Tour 1: 9.30 – 10.30am
  • Tour 2: 10.30 – 1.30am
  • Tour 3: 11.30 – 12.30pm

Location: 1 Waterside Place VICTORIA HARBOUR VIC 3000
Tickets: Member Individual $55
Non-Member Individual $95

>>Book a place on the tour

Stormwater Harvesting in Geelong: Case studies

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 10th, 2012

Source: Clearwater

From Geelong Stormwater Harvesting Projects:

The City of Greater Geelong has embarked upon a number of stormwater harvesting projects to reduce the City’s potable water use and maintain green open space and recreational assets. Two of these projects are detailed below.

Kardinia Park is an open space precinct that includes Simonds Stadium, home to the Geelong Football Club, and a number of other football/cricket ovals. The precinct is an important asset in the sporting and cultural identity of the Greater Geelong. The stormwater harvesting system diverts stormwater runoff from a 30ha area of Newtown and from nearby roofs and playing fields into a new underground storage tank. Water is drawn from this storage tank and used to irrigate the AFL ground’s playing surface and other surrounding ovals. The scheme is expected to save 13 megalitres of potable water per year.

Grinter Reserve was a product of the City’s Sustainable Water Use Plan developed or established in 2006. Stormwater from a conventional drainage system from an adjacent 200ha residential suburb is diverted into a constructed wetland in Grinter Reserve. Additional water sourced from the ‘Splashdown’ aquatic facility located within the Reserve allows approximately 30 megalitres of cleaned water to supply 100% of the irrigation demand for the reserve, providing ecological habitat and amenity and eliminating the need for potable water.

Read the full case studies on the Clearwater website.

Water Sensitive Cities Tour 2012: Project snapshots

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 21st, 2012

Photo of the Isar River in Munich by Marcio Cabral de Moura via flickr CC

From “Water Sensitive Cities 2012 Study Tour Group return home“:

The Water Sensitive Cities 2012 Study Tour group, comprising of 18 young water professionals from across Australia, have now completed the overseas leg of their trip. The group travelled to Singapore, the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands to develop their knowledge of integrated water management and to draw out relevant learnings that can aid Australia in moving towards a Water Sensitive City.

Tour participant Nicole Sexton, Senior Planner Strategy and Sustainability from Barwon Water, produced a poster presentation for the Healthy Cities Conference in Geelong on 6-8 June. The poster provides a snapshot of the sites that the group visited.

Click here to view the poster.