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Work has begun on a $1.78 million stormwater harvesting facility at Edinburgh Gardens in Melbourne, set to save the parkland 20 million litres of drinking water per year.

The facility, jointly funded by City West Water and the City of Yarra, will capture and distribute urban stormwater runoff to irrigate the parkland, reducing the need to use drinking water by the equivalent of eight olympic-sized swimming pools every year.

The project will expand on the existing stormwater harvesting scheme by installing a one million litre belowground storage tank, and upgrading the existing pipelines and pumping infrastructure to enable the capture of sufficient stormwater to meet most of the park’s irrigation needs.

The upgrades will also help mitigate downstream flooding in the Fitzroy area, reduce water pollution, and contribute to Yarra’s ambitious water reduction targets.

Stormwater harvesting involves capturing and diverting stormwater runoff during periods of rain from urban areas for treatment, storage and use for irrigation of open spaces.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of 2020. City West Water’s Managing Director, Maree Lang, said the project would help to lessen the demand on Melbourne’s drinking water for irrigating recreational parklands.

“It will also help to maintain Edinburgh Gardens as a green and healthy space, which we know provides incredible liveability benefits for the community,” Ms Lang said.

“Collaborative green infrastructure projects such as this also encourage opportunities for active, healthy lifestyles and ultimately improve health outcomes for local residents.”

Yarra City Council Mayor, Misha Coleman, said, “We’re really thrilled to kick-start these works at Edinburgh Gardens, which once complete, will capture an extra 20 million litres of rainwater to keep these much-loved gardens green and healthy.”

For more information on the Edinburgh Gardens Stormwater Harvesting Project, please visit www.citywestwater.com.au/stormwater.

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