The Shrine of Remembrance Reserve in Melbourne is landscaped with ceremonial lawns and gardens and is the location of over 250 significant trees. As Victoria’s major war memorial the site serves as an important education centre and tourist attraction. Since its opening in 1934 there has been a continuing civic commitment to maintain the Reserve facilitates and surrounds in optimum condition.
Due to Australia’s cyclic weather patterns and the effects of climate change there is a general need to develop sustainable solutions to offset the effects of periodic droughts and accompanying water restrictions. This project encompassed development and execution of a plan to install a one megalitre storage facility to harvest and reuse rainwater from the catchment areas available at the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve.
This rainwater harvesting project implemented an innovative and sustainable plan to harvest storm water from the roof and terraces of the Shrine and store the water in a one mega litre underground storage facility. The original plan called for a single storage tank; however site constraints lead to plan changes resulting in four separate tanks being installed. The facility includes infrastructure for storm water UV treatment and tank capacity management. As the tank installation itself is within a significant public site, post installation restoration work and media communications were important components of the project.
Four underground water tanks were installed in the western sector of the Shrine Reserve, and are now used to treat harvested rain and stormwater. The four tank design provided flexibility in placing the storage footprint to preserve significant trees and vegetation. Excavation of the underground installation sites, tank construction and back filling operations allowed work to proceed progressively. This significantly decreased the maximum volume of soil storage required on site and helped final restoration of the landscape above the tanks be completed without the need to remove and then return soil to the site.
The harvested water resource is pumped to the pre-existing irrigation system to water the grounds and commemorative trees. Water savings from this project are estimated at approximately 15 million litres annually and make a major contribution to the preservation of the gardens during periods of drought and water restrictions. The project also incorporated development of a program to educate visitors to the Shrine about this water conservation measure.