Sullivans Creek and Inner North Reticulation Network

The Sullivan’s Creek and Inner North Reticulation Network is Canberra’s first neighbourhood-scale stormwater harvesting and managed aquifer recharge system.

Constructed with financial support from the ACT and Australian governments, the scheme captures and treats urban stormwater in constructed wetlands before pumping it though a reticulation network for irrigation of urban green spaces.

Stormwater harvesting improves water quality by removing nutrients from urban waterways, where it creates problems such as algal blooms, and allowing fit-for-purpose use, such as irrigation, where the nutrients provide a benefit to urban green spaces.

The scheme also includes managed aquifer recharge, which involves storing filtered stormwater in an underground aquifer during wetter periods for later retrieval and use during the peak irrigation season.

The scheme’s infrastructure includes pipelines, pump stations, filtration systems, flow meters, valves, level sensors, water quality monitoring equipment, bores and a telemetry operation system. The end users have constructed tanks to receive and store the water prior to pumping it into their irrigation systems.

The Sullivans Creek and Inner North Reticulation Network is expected to deliver significant environmental, social and economic benefits.

Protecting Lake Burley Griffin

The system removes nutrient-rich stormwater from Sullivans Creek and uses it for irrigation, reducing nutrient loads and algal blooms in Lake Burley Griffin.

By reducing the peak from flashy stormwater flows, the network slows down and weakens flows in Sullivans Creek, thereby improving the regulation of inflows to Lake Burley Griffin.

Reducing demands on our precious potable drinking water supply

The network substitutes high-quality drinking water currently used for irrigation with fit-for-purpose stormwater.

It improves the efficiency of water use for scheme irrigators who have installed on-site tanks, as the water can be pumped at a higher pressure, enables more efficient irrigation and results in a higher quality turf surface.

Reliable stormwater supply and reduced costs of water

Storing filtered stormwater in an aquifer during cooler months replenishes the groundwater system and enables use during the peak irrigation season in the summer months.

Using fit for purpose stormwater for irrigating urban green spaces provides a cheaper source of water compared with drinking water. The nutrients in stormwater can also represent a valuable resource for irrigation use, reducing the requirement for fertiliser.