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Water Science & Technology Vol 63 No 1 pp 16–24 © IWA Publishing 2010 doi:10.2166/wst.2011.003

Centralised urban stormwater harvesting for potable reuse

P. McArdle, J. Gleeson, T. Hammond, E. Heslop, R. Holden and G. Kuczera

Hunter Water Australia, 19 Spit Island Close, Mayfield West, NSW 2304, Australia E-mail: peter.mcardle@hwa.com.au
Worley Parsons, 14 Telford St, Newcastle East, NSW 2300, Australia
School of Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia


Urban impervious areas provide a guaranteed source of runoff, especially in cities with high rainfall – this represents a source of water with low sensitivity to unfavourable climate change. Whilst the potential to reuse stormwater has long been recognised, its quality has largely limited usage to non-potable applications requiring the use of a third-pipe network, a prohibitively expensive option in established urban areas. Given recent advances in membrane filtration, this study investigates the potential of harvesting and treating stormwater to a potable standard to enable use of the potable distribution network. A case study based on the Throsby Creek catchment in Newcastle explores the issue. The high seasonally uniform rainfall provides insight into the maximum potential of such an option. Multicriterion optimisation was used to identify Pareto optimal solutions for harvesting, storing and treating stormwater. It is shown that harvesting and treating stormwater from a 13 km2 catchment can produce yields ranging from 8.5 to 14.2 ML/day at costs ranging from AU$2.60/kL to AU$2.89/kL, which may become viable as the cost of traditional supply continues to grow. However, there are significant social impacts to deal with including alienation of public land for storage and community acceptance of treated stormwater.

Keywords: Australia; case study; harvesting; Newcastle; potable; stormwater; reuse

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