Systems Analysis Options for a High Density Urban Precinct

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February 15, 2016

Urban-Water-Cycles-x2The Doncaster Hill Principal Activity Centre (PAC) occupies a land area of 58 ha in Victoria, Australia. It was proposed to redevelop the PAC as a higher density project to accommodate some of Melbourne’s expected population growth. Importantly, Manningham City Council (MCC), Melbourne Water Corporation (MWC) and Yarra Valley Water (YVW) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that defines the vision for the PAC. This study utilised a systems approach to analysis of the performance of a range of integrated water cycle management (IWCM) options for the PAC. This type of analysis is dependent on detailed inputs including water demands, topography, urban planning and hydrological design to create an efficient and sustainable options for water cycle strategy.

A range of combined Options were analysed to inform the decision making process. These Options were found to provide reductions in mains water demands, sewerage discharges, and considerable reductions in the requirement for water, sewerage and stormwater infrastructure that overwhelm the costs of providing and operating the infrastructure. These strategies also provided the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient loads. An integrated systems approach to infrastructure planning and design will reduce the water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure needed to service the development. The best mix of water management options includes wastewater reuse or stormwater harvesting, rainwater harvesting, water efficient appliances and WSUD that avoids the need for larger regional strategies to provide certainty about future urban water supplies.

Doncaster Hill PAC can be redeveloped with a reduced carbon footprint by adopting infrastructure planning principles that make use of all available water sources from within the development before relying on large external infrastructure upgrades. A localised infrastructure solution also provides increased flexibility in the timing and rate of development. The provision of an IWCM strategy that incorporates wastewater treatment plants with stormwater and rainwater harvesting located within the PAC will allow timely allocation of financial resources and infrastructure to the project. The MoU partners have since agreed to implement an IWCM strategy and the delivery of the first buildings in the PAC includes the strategy – a significant achievement that has produced a brown field IWCM strategy of national significance

Paper: Doncaster Hill Publication

Dr Peter Coombes

Dr Coombes has spent more than 30 years dedicated to the development of systems understanding of the urban, rural and natural water cycles with a view to finding optimum solutions for the sustainable use of ecosystem services, provision of infrastructure and urban planning.

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