North Sydney's largest sporting and recreational area is being irrigated using recycled water. An extensive irrigation system has been installed for St Leonards Park, North Sydney Oval and the Bon Andrews Oval.
The North Sydney Stormwater Re-use Scheme, informally known as the Cammeray Dam, allows stormwater from a 94-hectare catchment area to be pumped back onto St Leonards Park for watering the grass and playing fields.
The innovative project was initiated by the Cammeray Golf Club in 2002, when it sought Council support for a water recycling project to keep the links well watered. A feasibility study showed that a storage dam on the golf course could not only be used to irrigate the course, but also St Leonards, Primrose, Tunks and Forsyth Parks.
Since then the scheme has been refined to allow a gross pollutant trap (GPT) on the golf course to clean and store water for St Leonards Park, while the dam provides water for the golf course and Primrose Park.
The GPT was installed using funding from Council, from what is now the Dept of Water and Energy, and the RMS. The irrigation systems for St Leonards Park and the golf course, and the construction of Cammeray Dam were funded in part by significant grants from what is now Dept of Water and Energy, and the NSW Environmental Trust.
Cammeray Dam is approximately 45m by 35m in size, and three metres at its deepest. It is already becoming a habitat to wildlife such as ducks.
The project is an example of what can be achieved when government and community groups work together. This project saves 90 million litres of potable water each year. Although it was expensive installing the infrastructure in built areas, Council expects the project will pay for itself within 20 years.
The first stage of the scheme was completed in October 2007 to provide recycled stormwater to St Leonards Park, North Sydney and Bon Andrews Ovals. Water is pumped from a Gross Pollutant Trap on Cammeray Golf Course, filtered and stored in underground tanks within St Leonards Park. It is then further treated before being irrigated through a fully automated system.
The second stage, completed March 2008, includes the dam on Cammeray Golf Course, which captures stormwater run-off draining to Willoughby Bay. The water is filtered before being used to irrigate the golf links as well as Cammeray soccer oval and croquet lawns.
In 2008/09 water from the dam will be reticulated to Primrose, Tunks and Forsyth Parks.
It is estimated the scheme will save around 90,000 kilolitres of potable (drinking) water each year, saving Council $40,000 in water rates.
The dam would allow Council to meet community expectations for both open space and sustainability. The community wants more open spaces and recreational areas. At the same time, there is growing concern about Sydney's decreasing water supply. This scheme will provide enough water to irrigate five extensive areas of parkland and will reduce our water bills for years to come.
The estimated cost of the dam and irrigation piping is $2.5 million. A large proportion of construction costs will be met by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change grants, while the remainder will be met by Council, developer levies and the Cammeray Golf Club, which is working in partnership with Council on the project.