Page 16 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
Water is supplied to each allotment via the mains water distribution network. Aurora relies on
supplied by the local water utility which, as a retailer is, in-turn, reliant on distribution networks and
catchment reservoirs controlled by Melbourne Water.
is collected and pumped to a nearby
treatment plant where it is processed and filtered to ‘Class-A’ standard, then pumped back to Aurora via a
dedicated ‘third-pipe’ distribution system and plumbed into houses for toilet flushing and outdoor use.
recycled water
infrastructure is designed to function independently from wider sewerage treatment and
reticulation systems but is connected to, and can draw on, both if necessary. The recycled water network
also supplies multiple access points around Aurora for irrigating public green areas.
management is the responsibility of the local council – principally the maintenance of WSUD
features constructed throughout Aurora. These features consist of landscaped and vegetated infiltration
swales and basins, drainage areas and constructed wetlands. Aurora’s WSUD features are developed
in stages synchronised with hard-surface construction prior to housing construction. Once construction
is complete, and in accordance with common practice, responsibility for maintenance switches from the
developer to the local council.
Several factors shaped the design of services at Aurora. At the time of inception, Aurora lay outside the
catchment area of the nearest mains sewerage distribution trunk. Connecting potable water to the site
was possible but access to sewerage treatment was not. Rather than waiting for the sewerage lines to be
extended, the developer chose a more innovative approach to water treatment. Other factors also played a
role in shaping system design. One consultant noted how
‘one of the bases for going down this path was
climate change’
, leading to decisions on system designs intended to reduce the development’s carbon
footprint and increase its ability to handle climate change impacts. The focus on mitigation influenced:
• Strategies used to reduce construction waste to land-fill;
• The use of low-energy street-lighting;
• The decision to mandate solar hot water heaters for each house;
• The six-star energy performance rating required for all homes (above the then mandated five-star);
• Strategies aimed at reducing the embodied energy of buildings.
Places Victoria and consultants were very conscious of risks posed by climate change and concerns about
drought and future water scarcity directly influenced their adoption of WSUD features and the ‘third-pipe
system’ for recycled water. The ability to ‘drought-proof’ Aurora using innovative approaches to water
services was also seen by Places Victoria as offering an incentive to potential buyers compared to other
sites as well as helping to reduce off-site nutrient pollution.
WestWyck is a 12 household ‘eco-village’ development in West Brunswick, Melbourne (Figure 5). The
development is situated on the site of a former school and incorporates the pre-existing school building.
Development stage one, comprising five townhouses, seven apartments and a shared living space, was
completed in 2008. Construction on stage two is yet to commence. All following descriptions and analysis
relating to WestWyck are based on an assessment of stage one only. At the time of writing WestWyck’s
population was 32.