Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse at Windy Hill Nursery, NSW

Windy Hill Nursery at Mudgee, NSW has installed an innovative watering system, from Think Water Mudgee that takes advantage of both rainfall and storm-water recycling.

As with any nursery operation, water is a critical component- Windy Hill had a number of limitations that needed to be addressed to ensure adequate irrigation water was available for plant growth and for future expansion of the site. Bore water could not be used, due to groundwater restrictions. The client wanted to limit the use of town water supply to reduce operating expenses and provide a more environmentally sustainable business. Only 240volt power was available to the site.

The irrigation and recycling design was prepared by Think Water Mudgee in conjunction with the clients objectives.

The plan involves capturing rainwater from the roof area and recycling run off from the external plant display area then re-distributing that back onto the nursery plants when required through a fully automated watering system.

The retail and storage building provided a significant amount of roof area to capture rainwater and to further increase runoff, the plant display area was lined with heavy duty builders plastic and covered with white gravel, providing significant water volumes during rainfall events and allowing further recycling of irrigation.

Two 150,000litre Pioneer water tanks capture the water; one from the roof- this tank is also connected to mains water supply, so if rainfall is lacking there is still adequate water supply to irrigate the nursery. The other tank is connected to the runoff supply recycle system.

Stormwater runoff is collected in a central drain sump;  the concrete pit, which is 1.2 x 3metres is situated in the corner of the complex allowing for collection of all site runoff. Three Grundfos AP508’s single phase pumps lift the recycled water back to the Pioneer storage tank via a filtration system. Three pumps were incorporated in the design to allow for high rainfall events, which can occur in Mudgee during summer storms.

Irrigation is supplied with two Grundfos CRE5-8 Solo E pumps- these pumps allow for a very flexible operation, based on demand with irrigation and tap use- these variable speed drive pumps run on 240 volts, eliminating the need for expensive three phase power connection, while still remaining economical to run.

The system is controlled through a Hunter ICC control panel located in the retail section of the nursery and controls 20 Netafim Aquanet AC pressure regulating control valves. The controller has further expansion capabilities if required.

The sprinklers used are Hunter 12A with SRS nozzles. The project was delivered to the client on time and on budget.

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