Water sustainable urban development: tour through Marrickville

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I spent an enjoyable morning today, visiting local houses who are saving water in interesting ways, as well as looking at some “rain gardens” in the street. (Our house was also the last stop on the tour, showing off what we’d done in the garden.)

The Water Sustainable Urban Development (WSUD) tour was organised by the “water revolution” staff at Marrickville Council. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. It was hard to tell who were more passionate, the householders installing the water tanks, or the folks on the tour!

A few highlights:

A pair of 5,000 litre water tanks
A pair of 5,000 litre water tanks

The first stop was Graeme’s house in Marrickville. This showcases a significant project (8 months in length) to install a pair of 5,000L water tanks at the bottom of their large, and heavily sloping, garden. The tanks were then plumbed into the house, for absolutely everything other than drinking water. The cost was actually pretty reasonable, and the duration of the work was I think due to Graeme doing a lot of the work himself, presumably on weekends.

Pressure accumulator tank
Pressure accumulator tank

Something I hadn’t seen before was the pressure accumulator tank. About the size of a gas bottle, this holds water at pressure. This means that if a small amount of water is required in the house (washing hands, etc), the water is drawn from this holding tank, without the pump having to come on. This reduces the electricity required, and presumably helps to prolong the life of the pump. I’ll definitely have to look into this for our house.

Hill Street rain garden
Hill Street rain garden

The Hill Street rain garden was extremely interesting. This takes the normal storm water that runs of the street, and passes it through this mini wetland. The goal is not to store the water, but to filter it through the plants, which are grown on top of several layers of sub-surface material.

Where the gutter is diverted into the rain garden
Where the gutter is diverted into the rain garden

The end result is cleaner water going into the waterways, with a lot of the sediment, rubbish and nitrogen stripped out. I think it also makes for an interesting take on street-side gardens. Would love to see more of these go in throughout the Inner West.

Communal garden in the laneway
Communal garden in the laneway

John Caley, who ran the water course I attended some months back, had a house that certainly met expectations. Plenty of careful design of water tanks, and a nice use of water off next door’s roof (with their permission!). What took my fancy, however, was their lovely little communal garden in the small laneway beside the house. Plenty of produce to share amongst the neighbouring houses.

A small garden, lush and verdant
A small garden, lush and verdant

Mike and Jen’s house had everything that an inner-city greenie would want. Water tanks, careful management of water runoff, and chooks. Oh, and a nice vegetable garden squeezed into their small back garden.

Thanks to Maggie for organising the day! Visit the Marrickville Council water pages to find out more on future events, and how to get involved.

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One thought on “Water sustainable urban development: tour through Marrickville

    Keren said:
    October 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Hi James,

    A fabulous overview of our wonderful day. Thanks to Maggie for organising it and to everyone for being so interesting/ed. I shall never forget the tale of the shower slug.

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