WATER HARVESTING PROJECT
Since opening in 2000, Etihad Stadium has become an iconic landmark in Melbourne and the host of some of the country’s most popular sports and entertainment events.
Managed by Melbourne Stadiums Ltd (MSL), the venue prides itself on providing a state of the art stadium for patrons, promoters, athletes and performers. The stadium’s management team strives to deliver a venue that is recognised for its world class facilities and practices.
As Australia endures the worst drought in its history and Victoria combats water restrictions, Etihad Stadium recognises the need for conservative water use and innovation with regard to water savings. In searching for a response to the water saving challenge facing all large businesses, Etihad Stadium found inspiration in its most renowned attribute, the enormous retractable roof.
A project was undertaken that would ultimately result in the venue slashing its water usage by close to 25 per cent. This was achieved by installing 17 rainwater tanks, with a combined capacity to store up to one million litres of rainwater collected from the 40,000 square metre stadium roof. Ten pneumatic water diversion valves and a further 10 motorised water transfer valves were used, along with insulation of 1.5 kilometres of pipe work. The rainwater captured is used for flushing toilets and irrigation of the venue’s playing surface.
The project is fully automated through a building management system (BMS) to ensure the capability to both capture and distribute rainwater is maximised. The BMS allows stadium management to electronically control the diversion of harvested water through the pneumatic valves.
Previously, rainwater harvesting was considered too complicated, due to the design of the closed loop storm water system. However, the stadium’s engineers recommended modifications which made it possible to divert water from the closed loop system.
Realising that rainwater harvesting might be possible after all, the stadium undertook a feasibility study for diverting water from its own catchments. A full costing and engineering report was then submitted to Etihad Stadium’s water management partner, City West Water, with an application for co-funding of the project. With proposed annual water savings of 20 – 30 million litres, City West Water agreed to contribute 50% of the cost of the project, which was implemented in January 2009.
Quantities of other water savings cannot be accurately projected, however, through its water action plan, the stadium has identified and acted on the following water saving initiatives:
• replacement of 40 showerheads with more water efficient models
• flow restrictors installed on all hand basins (200)
• installation of a water recycling unit
• addition of wetting agents in the irrigation system
• replacement of existing toilet flush mechanisms with newly developed components, which reduce the amount of water used in the 800 toilet pans within the stadium
• stadium signage promoting water conservation; and
• a review of water usage practices with staff and contractors..
Etihad Stadium’s water harvesting project was endorsed by the State Government of Victoria and launched in January 2009 by the Acting Premier, the Honourable Rob Hulls. Mr Hulls congratulated the venue on its achievements, lauding the fact that the stadium implemented such extensive water saving measures when it was under no obligation to do so.
“(Etihad Stadium) has an exemption from water restrictions as it is a venue which holds national and international sporting events, however it’s setting a great example by going above and beyond what is required,” Mr Hulls said.
Mr Hulls’ comments demonstrate Etihad Stadium’s commitment to water conservation and shows it is actively seeking to be an environmentally responsible organisation.
In addition to the rainwater harvesting project, Etihad Stadium has promoted water conservation messages to its patrons via its website, the stadium’s magazine, as well as its annual ‘Year In Review’ publication, which is circulated to approximately 5,000 people and businesses.
The stadium is currently in the process of working with City West Water to develop signage to install around the venue to promote its water saving initiatives in support of the Victorian Government’s Support 155 program. This will demonstrate to its patrons that Etihad Stadium stands alongside Victorian residents in working to change behaviour and reduce water consumption.
CITY WEST WATER PARTNERSHIP
Etihad Stadium was using more than 10 million litres of potable water per year, and as such, is required to develop and annually report on the progress of the site’s Water Management Action Plan (WaterMAP) and seek opportunities to improve water efficiency.
The stadium has worked with City West Water over a number of years to reduce water consumption, building a solid relationship where both partners have identified new opportunities to save water together. This has occurred through both the voluntary City West Water Conservation Solutions Program and the Victorian Government’s mandatory WaterMAP program.
Together with City West Water, the stadium has measured and assessed high water use areas and prioritised initiatives to maximise water savings within existing budgetary constraints. These include:
• retro fitting 47 water efficient showerheads;
• installing 800 toilet hand basins and corporate suites fitted with low flow restrictors;
• the purchase of wetting agent applicators used in conjunction with hand watering practices;
• Installing data loggers and check meters installed at various points in the venue to track water use patterns;
• the purchase of hose reels to facilitate hand watering in lieu of overhead irrigation achieving a 25% water reduction; and
• installing drip irrigation water sensors that measure the soil water content and relevant parameters.
A thorough assessment of water use revealed that further savings could be secured through augmenting the supply of water with an alternative source, culminating in the introduction of the rain water harvesting project.
Rainwater harvesting was previously considered unworkable due to the design of the closed loop storm water system. However, the stadium’s engineers recommended modifications which made it possible to divert water from the closed loop system. Realising that rainwater harvesting might be possible after all, the stadium undertook a feasibility study for diverting water from its own catchments.
The plan was to install 17 rainwater tanks which would collect rainwater from the 40,000 square metre Stadium roof, using pneumatic water diversion valves and other motorised water transfer valves, along with insulation of 1.5 kilometres of pipe work.
A full costing and engineering report was then submitted to Etihad Stadium’s water management partner, City West Water, with an application for co-funding of the project. With proposed annual water savings of 20 – 30 million litres, City West Water agreed to contribute 50% of the cost of the project, which was implemented in January 2009.