Pre-Feasibility Assessment of Managed Aquifer Recharge in the Botany Aquifer
Client: National Water Commission, Water Programmes Group
Project Reference: 06093
WRL Technical Report: Pre-Feasibility Assessment of Managed Aquifer Recharge in the Botany Aquifer (2006/33)
Due to continuing drought, integrated water management projects such as managed aquifer recharge (MAR) are being developed in many Australian cities including Sydney. MAR includes enhanced recharge, intentional storage and treatment of water in aquifers. In the Sydney region the only significant large aquifer is the Botany sand aquifer located between Centennial Park and Botany Bay. From 1827 to 1869 water from the Botany aquifer was Sydney’s second water supply and was delivered to Hyde Park via Busby’s bore. While the only official MAR scheme in the Botany aquifer commenced operation on UNSW’s Kensington campus in 2006, recharge of the aquifer has been inadvertently enhanced by stormwater diverted into leaky ponds constructed in Centennial Park for over 130 years.
The National Water Commission engaged WRL, in association with UTS, to prepare a pre-feasibility assessment of MAR for the Botany aquifer. The desktop assessment reviewed the available knowledge of Botany aquifer properties, potential water sources for additional recharge, and possible types of MAR to be implemented in the Botany aquifer, knowledge gaps and recommendations to progress the project. During the review, WRL found that naturally high recharge rates and permeability make the Botany aquifer well suited to MAR schemes, especially in the north-east section of the Botany aquifer where the water quality is generally excellent.
To estimate the feasibility of a range of MAR schemes, it is essential that the extent and properties of the aquifer are better defined. In particular, WRL recommended further detailed assessment to reduce the uncertainty of the estimated Botany aquifer sustainable yield. However, the initial desktop assessment identified multiple MAR schemes with a capacity of up to 5 ML/day are possible in the area. Additional water for groundwater recharge could be provided by new stormwater diversions or by the addition of high quality treated wastewater or a combination of both. More detailed assessment is required to investigate these source options.
WRL concluded that MAR presents an opportunity for supplementing water supply, ensuring the amenity of a significant part of central Sydney and optimising water use from an important aquifer resource.
This report is available for download at: the Australian Government National Water Commission
For further information about UNSW experitise in MAR assessment, please visit the Connected Waters Initiative
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