Birrarung Marr stormwater harvesting system
A stormwater harvesting system has been built in one of Melbourne's most visited parks, allowing us to keep the space green and healthy without relying on drinking water.
Birrarung Marr is an 8.3 hectare park located on the northern bank of the Yarra River, next to Federation Square. Transformed from a rail yard into parkland in 2002, Birrarung Marr is the newest large park in the inner Melbourne area.
The popular and versatile space is home to many events throughout the year, from Circus Oz, to Moomba, to sporting events and festivals. The park is also a major thoroughfare for millions of pedestrians. It links the city centre to the MCG and the Melbourne Park sporting precinct.
Birrarung Marr has three separate terraces stepping up from the river, connected by a central pedestrian bridge. The park’s six hectares of vegetated space require approximately 45 million litres of irrigation water each year.
The Birrarung Marr stormwater harvesting system captures, treats and stores stormwater for irrigation reuse in the park. This has reduced use of potable water for irrigation by 70 per cent.
Birrarung Marr contains many native and exotic plants, contributing a wealth of environmental, social and economic benefits. The stormwater harvesting system provides a reliable irrigation source for these plants into the future.
The park is located between the Yarra River and several busy roads and multi-storey buildings. It plays a crucial role in intercepting polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the river.
The system is part of the Eastern Melbourne Parks and Gardens Stormwater Harvesting Scheme. Overall, the Scheme received $4.8 million in funding from the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative.
What benefits has the stormwater harvesting system provided?
- Saved about 35 million litres of drinking water per year
- Provided a reliable alternative water source for park irrigation
- Contributed 2.1 per cent of the Council’s 30 per cent alternative water use target by 2018 under our Total Watermark Strategy
- Reduced pollutant levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals and sediment entering the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay
- Facilitated landscaping upgrades, including the flowering meadow at the storage tank site.
As a result of drought and heat stress, several trees in Birrarung Marr are expected to die in the next five to 10 years. The stormwater harvesting system has helped to prolong the life of these trees. It will also support the replacement trees that will be planted.
Taking its name from the Woiwurrung term meaning ‘river of mists’ or ‘beside the river’, water is a key element in the design of Birrarung Marr. The park’s landscape represents the original billabongs and lagoons in the area.