Several hundred local soccer players, athletes and school children converge each week on the grounds of Dixon Field, home to the Gisborne Junior Soccer Club.
Located in the Macedon Ranges, the venue has long been targeted by the Macedon Ranges Shire as a potential key sporting precinct, a move that will further increase visitor and player numbers.
The problem, however, is that the current fields have reached their capacity as a safe playing surface. While lower levels of activity in the past allowed the fields time to recover between events, the surface will require significant maintenance to ensure player and visitor safety at increased levels of use in the future.
With the help of a Smart Water Fund grant, the Club has found an innovative solution to these issues that will deliver a long-term benefit to the environment as well as to community users.
The Club is using recycled water supplied from their local water authority to support a durable yet impact-resistant surface. It has also utilised a new and highly innovative sub-surface irrigation system that will be installed to:
- improve surface quality and durability
- improve the level of grip and reduce soil compaction levels
- increase player safety by reducing the risk of player injury
- provide a useable playing surface all year round
“At the completion of this project, the community will gain a first-rate facility that sets a benchmark for future projects across the Shire,” says Gisborne Junior Soccer Club’s Project Manager, Jacqueline Hererra.
“Most importantly, it will support junior and youth sporting activities in the Shire, ensure player and visitor safety, provide a more durable surface that will improve game standards and meet the future demands of higher recreational usage.
“All of this will be done in a way that is cost effective and good for the environment,” Hererra says.
The project will reduce water consumption by up to 40 per cent compared to traditional methods of irrigation, and will make use of recycled water rather than high quality drinking water.
The innovative sub-surface irrigation system is also safer for the community and the environment.
The irrigation system is able to disperse water directly to the root zone of the grass which minimises the rate of evaporation that typically occurs in above ground irrigation. In addition, the recycled water never becomes airborne, thus making it absolutely safe for the community.
Key water savings estimated from this project are two to three megalitres per year, or the equivalent of one Olympic-sized swimming pool. This figure is expected to rise to 10–12 megalitres by 2007 when new stages of the precinct are completed and the same technology is adopted.
The use of this local water saving strategy will provide a blueprint for future water saving practices well beyond the boundaries of the Macedon Ranges. The project will assist other communities to be smart about the way they use water.