Building & Planning

Onslow Waterwise Project

Onslow demonstration garden 

How to plant a Waterwise garden

Onslow Airport – a leading example of Waterwise design

The Waterwise Council program helps councils in Western Australia adhere to the State Government’s water efficiency measures and further encourages improved water use management at a corporate and community level. The Shire of Ashburton is proud to be a Waterwise Council, and continues to work towards improving water efficiency in Onslow.

Great News! The Shire of Ashburton has recently received notification that we have successfully retained our Waterwise Council endorsement for 2015. 

Onslow Waterwise demonstration garden.

In January 2014 the Shire of Ashburton was successful in securing funding from the Water Corporation towards a Waterwise project that would help to reduce the Shire’s scheme water use and which promotes water efficiency to the community. The Shire has committed these funds towards the revitalisation of the Onslow Waterwise demonstration garden.

Due to the harsh climate in Onslow some of the plants that were originally planted in this area have not been successful. The revitalisation of the garden will look at soil samples to assess which nutrients are lacking and to provide important information regarding to the right type of soil improvers which will assist in creating healthy soil for our coastal region.

The project will also include new plants, a redesign of the garden, new interpretive signage as well as ongoing maintenance and mulching of the garden.

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How to plant a Waterwise Garden

The Shire of Ashburton, together with Waterwise specialists Josh Byrne and Associates, have produced a ‘Waterwise Garden Guidelines’ information pack for the Onslow community.  This information pack outlines the gardening considerations of the harsh coastal environment and offers advice for best way to design a Waterwise Garden.

Waterwise information packs are available from the Shire office and are also handed out during the community Welcome BBQ’s that are held three times per year.

Of course, the best time to introduce new plants into a garden is during the cooler months when they can put their energy into developing a healthy root system and not simply trying to survive the heat!   However, the warmer months are the perfect time for Waterwise research and planning so that you’re all ready to go when the weather cools.

To assist in the design and planning of your new Waterwise garden download the handy fact sheet below.

Waterwise Garden tips

Waterwise information packs

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Onslow Airport – a leading example of Waterwise design

The Onslow Airport has undergone a large redevelopment over the past year and a half to meet increased air traffic demands associated with new resource projects in the area. This included the construction of a new 1900m runway to cater for larger planes.

The most significant challenge was the lack of fresh water with approximately one million litres of water required per day for use in pavement construction and compaction.  The Shire was required to come up with an innovated design solution that enabled the use of saltwater for the whole project.

To best understand the effects of the use of salt water on the runway construction, ARRB Group Ltd (Australian Road Research Board) were engaged to assist with providing expert advice and to identify engineering control measures to mitigate any risks.

The project required the compaction of nearly 400,000m³ of earthworks and pavement material, which in turn required approximately one million litres of water per day.

The use of saltwater was extensively researched prior to the decision being made to continue with saltwater right through until the completion of the base course. An emulsion prime was used as soon as dry-back was reached, and then a polymer modified binder (PMB) waterproofing seal was applied. The surface was then regularly rolled with a multi tyre roller until the asphalt was laid.

There were no other water supply alternatives, and the innovative use of salt water with appropriate mitigation solutions on the aerodrome is likely to assist future infrastructure projects in the Onslow area.

Along with the new runway, a new terminal has also been constructed to cater for the additional passengers transiting through the airport. The terminal was designed to be Waterwise and environmentally sustainable and is a leading example of the Shire’s Waterwise efforts.

Waste water from inside the terminal building will be processed through a treatment plant and then used to irrigate the airport’s Waterwise garden. The treatment plant has been installed and the Waterwise garden will follow in the 2014/15 financial year, utilising Waterwise plants suitable to the area.

Another feature in the new Airport terminal is a building management system that will monitor water usage. It will tell the Shire of Ashburton how much water is being used – this can also highlight possible leaks. There is a screen in the main terminal which, once operational, will show passengers how much water is being used and help raise awareness of water consumption and opportunities for water saving.

Waterwise treatment plant

waterwise council

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Last updated: 1 September 2016