An innovative water management model being deployed in Queensland promises to boost the self-sufficiency of urban communities via enhanced harvesting of storm water.

Brisbane-based engineering firm Blight Tanner developed the water management model in close collaboration with Japanese engineering firm JFE, Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and the Queensland Water Commission (QWC), for a new 114-hectare housing development situated 12 kilometres to the north of the city of Brisbane in Fitzgibbon Chase.

The project is expected to achieve a 60 per cent saving on regular mains water usage via the incorporation of two innovative water harvesting systems – the Fitzgibbon Stormwater Harvesting Project (FiSh) for non-potable stormwater and the PotaRoo for potable roof water.

The PotaRoo harvests roof water from approximately 600 homes in Fitzgibbon Chase and channels it to communal tanks for storage, before pumping it to a central treatment plant for processing into potable water.

The FiSH diverts, filters and disinfects urban stormwater runoff from a catchment area of around 290 hectares, and is expected to provide 89 megalitres of water for non-potable usage per year within the Fitzgibbon Chase estate development.

The end result is an environmentally friendly yet cost effective integrated water management solution.

“The FiSH and PotaRoo projects together provide an excellent and innovative example of infrastructure to challenge the current paradigm and demonstrate sustainable alternative water supply options,” says Don Begbie, director of the Urban Water Security Research Alliance.

The project has tremendous potential for deployment in other cities in Australia as well as around the globe, and has already drawn international attention.

“The FiSH and PotaRoo present a model of water supply augmentation that has potential for application in new urban developments in Australia and across the globe,” said International WaterCentre chief executive Mark Pascoe.

Delegations from Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia and Israel have visited the project, hoping to learn from its methods for heightening urban sustainability in regions where water is scarce.