Oaklands Park Managed Aquifer Recharge System

At the intersection of innovation and sustainability, great design can effectively turn a single problem into many opportunities. In the case of Oaklands Park Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme, great design stemmed a potential environmental hazard while also creating a sustainable stream of irrigation water, and boosting wetland and marine biodiversity.

Oaklands Park Managed Aquifer Recharge captures, cleans and reuses water from the Sturt River, an offshoot of the Patawalonga River which runs along the southern boundary of Adelaide Airport. Water is captured by harvesting pumps and directed through a gross pollutant trap (GPT) to remove sediment before entering the 2.3-hectare Oaklands Wetland. A series of cascades, along with the use of aquatic plants, further filters the water in readiness for it to be injected into the aquifer below the wetlands.

Continuous testing ensures that the conductivity, pH, temperature, and turbidity of the water are suitable for underground storage. Applicable water is collected in an underground sump and distributed by an injection pump between four wells, with a total storage capacity of 400 million litres of stormwater. Each well is equipped with a pump to backflush water to the wetlands for quality and level control, and to move water to a buffer tank. From this tank, water is pumped through an 11.5km network of underground pipes to more than 30 council-owned parks, providing a secure, safe and clean source of irrigation for turf, gardens and trees.

Ascertaining the Advantages of Managed Aquifer Recharge

As well as relieving the pressure on drinking water supplies, Oaklands Park Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) significantly reduces the amount of pollutant loads which would otherwise be released into the Gulf of St Vincent. In addition to protecting and conserving marine environments, the MAR provides the local area with a biodiverse environment and a safe backdrop for recreation.

With a track record for developing innovative MAR schemes, HydroPlan was approached to provide expertise to guide the concept and delivery of Oaklands Park. Our team was engaged to design the network responsible for harvesting, injecting and recovering water, in addition to providing construction management services. HydroPlan also designed and managed construction of the purple pipe network which delivers the recycled water to council reserves and recreational facilities.

Multi Award-Winning Project

The Oaklands Park and Wetland was the decorated with several industry awards in recognition of the innovative and sustainable nature of the project, and diverse community benefits.

  • Parks and Leisure Australia Regional Award for Sustainable Initiatives (2014)
  • Stormwater Australia National Award for Excellence in Integrated Stormwater Design (2014)
  • Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ Parks and Open Space Award of Excellence (2018)

In addition to Oaklands Park, HydroPlan played a leadership role in the development of Aldinga Managed Aquifer Recharge, the first Australian scheme to store recycled water.

Sources: Adelaide Uni, TCL