Sporting complex water harvesting at a regional sporting venue

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1. Project Summary
2. Project Overview
2.1 Project background

2.2 Original Project objectives as per the funding agreement

2.3 Original Project duration as per the funding agreement

3. Project Construction Details
3.1 Contributing Catchments

3.2 Primary Treatment

3.3 Function and Arrangement

3.4 Water Storage

3.5 Distribution

3.6 Sand base playing surface

4 Process and Methods
4.1 Project governance

4.2 External Service Providers

4.3 Procurement

4.4 Internal Service Providers

4.5 Financial Information

4.6 Quality Control

4.7 Stakeholder consultation, community engagement, information community and key promotional/public activities

4.8 Project Issues

4.9 WH & S Considerations

5 Project Assessment
5.1 Project Objectives

5.2 Project Duration

5.3 Levelised Cost of Water

5.4 Social benefits

5.5 Summary of outcomes

6 Experience Sharing and Lessons Learnt
7 Project Future
8 Attachments

Report sign off










Mr Wes


(Signed off)


Approved by

Director Parks

& Landcare Services Division, Chair Steering Committee




(Signed off)


Approved by

General Manager, Dubbo City Council

Mr Mark


(Signed off)


Apex Oval/ East Dubbo Sporting Complex (EDSC) is a high profile regional sporting complex located on the Mitchell Highway in Dubbo, NSW (Figure 1).
The facility is located at a significant node in the City’s stormwater system that drains 61 hectares of urban development. The project captures runoff and stores water in a 10ML reservoir underneath the playing surface. Based on average rainfall this shall supply 49% of the water required to irrigate all of the ovals at the Apex Oval/ EDSC precinct. The underground reservoir also allows for connection to the non-potable water supply network of Elston Park Bore. This means all irrigation water supplied to the facility shall be from a non- potable source. Previously Apex Oval / EDSC were irrigated with treated town water (potable).
It is estimated that 38.8 ML shall be captured annually on average and 3,880 ML over the

100 year life of the reservoir tank.

Other significant benefits include:
International standard playing surface that can have significantly higher use and has a water efficient grass species installed enabling Dubbo to attract regional quality events.
Installation of up to date and efficient irrigation system including moisture sensors and incorporation into Councils centralised web-based irrigation control system.
Use of the site as an education resource through bodies such as the Central West Catchment Management Authority and Dubbo City Council sustainability education projects.
Capture and treat stormwater, removing 99% of hydrocarbons and 85% of Total

Suspended Solids thus preventing these pollutants from reaching the Macquarie River

The project provides certainty in water supply to the facility during times when potable water is being rationed through water restrictions as occurred during the last and most recent drought period. This has an important impact on the health of communities as there is a growing body of evidence that shows an increasing likelihood of injuries on sports grounds suffering exposure to low rainfall and high evaporation rates (Townsend, Mahoney, Jones, Ball, Salmon and Finch [2003], Too hot to trot? Exploring potential links between climate change, physical activity and health, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 6 (3): 260-


Figure 1: Location of Apex Oval within Dubbo

The project was jointly funded by the Australian Government through the National Urban

Water and Desalination Plan and Dubbo City Council.
Dubbo City Council (DCC) was the recipient of the $4,506,500 grant funding and was the organisation that entered into contracts with external service providers or utilised internal (DCC) service providers. The project was delivered as a Council capital works project with formal tenders called for the larger budget items and Council staff project managing the whole construction. Council provided $1.3 million in cash funding and $9.8 million in-kind by waiving tipping fees.

The project was delivered using the following delivery approach: - A design brief was prepared by Dubbo City Council;

- A design firm was appointed to undertake the task;

- Tenders were called for the two significant construction components

– tank construction and playing surface construction;

- Dubbo City Council undertook earthworks and stormwater connections;

- Dubbo City Council appointed an internal project manager.
This final report outlines the Project from design to completion of the Funding Agreement.
2.1 Project Background

Dubbo is located in the central west slopes of NSW and has a population of 41,763. Dubbo is a service city with a shopping population in excess of 120,000 people. It services a third of the geographic area of NSW. The local government authority is Dubbo City Council

Figure 2: Location of Dubbo in NSW

Dubbo is within the Federal electoral division of Parkes (NSW) and within the state electoral division of Dubbo.

Dubbo relies on the Macquarie River and groundwater bores for the supply of drinking water. The Macquarie River starts in the central tablelands in the Oberon district and flows 500km north west and north before joining the Barwon- Darling River. The river’s largest water storage is Burrendong Dam upstream of Dubbo. Downstream of Dubbo, 50km north of Warren are the RAMSAR listed Macquarie Marshes. (

The Apex Oval/ East Dubbo Complex site has a long history of utilisation by the community but not just for recreation. The history of the Apex Oval site is as follows:

- 1929 - 1951 gravel and brick quarry

- 1954 - 1963 rubbish depot

- 1970 land gazetted for public recreation

- 1974 oval development by Apex club commences

- 1978 Apex Oval opened

- 1987 EDSC (three outer fields) constructed

- 1995 playing lights installed

- 2005 Bruce Neads Memorial Grandstand opened

- November 2012 Apex Oval reopened after the completion of the stormwater harvesting project

The Apex Oval/ East Dubbo Sporting Complex is 106,882 m2 in area consisting of one regional football facility, three additional senior sized fields and two junior fields. The focus of these fields is rugby league, rugby union and some regional soccer tournaments.

These playing fields have used on average 77199 KL per annum of potable water. During the most recent drought potable water was often unable to be used at the Apex Oval facility thus necessitating the irrigation water supply to be changed to bore water.
The playing fields have long been connected to a non-potable aquifer water supply system, Elston Bore, but the distance and age of the pipe network led to poor performance of the irrigation system. In addition Elston Bore is already watering a number of highly utilised open space assets thus necessitating that Apex/ EDSC had to be watered by bore during the day- thus increasing inefficient use of the aquifer. This led to all oval surfaces not being fit for purpose when watered by the bore network during drought periods.
The project utilises the existing stormwater system that drains approximately 61 hectares of the urban area through the oval site and use this captured stormwater to irrigate the Apex Oval/ EDSC playing fields. Feasibility studies had shown that a storage capacity of between

10 and 12 ML was the most cost effective size. Such a tank would enable the capture and use of between 38.8 ML and 42 ML per annum on average.

2.2 Original Project Objectives as per the Funding Agreement

This section describes the objectives that were articulated in the funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Dubbo City Council. Over time and due to the unforeseen site constraints the objectives were altered. The original objectives are presented in this section in order for the reader to understand the full extent of the Apex Oval Stormwater Harvesting project.

TABLE 1: Proposed Project Objectives


Proposed Output

Urban run off harvesting

12ML tank installed

Use of harvested water

Irrigating public open space

Average amount of water collected annually


Reduction of pollutants entering Macquarie


Installation of GPT to remove oils, fuels,

rubbish and soil/stones

Promotion of project to promote better water

management in broader community

Public viewing sessions held throughout


Offsetting carbon footprint of the project

Offsetting 16.23 tonnes of carbon equivalent

Cost Effectiveness

Payback period of 43 years

1. Urban run off harvesting

The stormwater harvesting system was proposed to install a 12ML tank as the most cost effective volume (the feasibility study showed between 10 and 12 ML was the most cost effective storage capacity).

This is consistent with Dubbo City Council’s commitment as part of its Four Year Delivery Programme (p. 63) to undertake sustainable land use practices of which one strategy relates directly to water use on Open Space:
TABLE 2: Excerpt from Dubbo City Council 4 Year Delivery Programme (p.63)


Performance Target

By When

Sustainable land use

practices are implemented to reduce water and energy use and the removal of vegetation

Reduction in the reliance on

potable water by Open Space and other horticultural elements


2. Use of water

The water captured by the system shall be used to irrigate Apex Oval and the surrounding fields of the East Dubbo Sporting Complex ensuring an ability to provide irrigation water, use it efficiently and produce fit for purpose sporting fields.

3. Average amount of water collected annually

The proposal was for the tank to capture 42ML per annum on average based on modelling using climate data over a 50 year period for the Dubbo urban area.

4. Reduction in pollutants entering the Macquarie River.

Apex Oval/ East Dubbo Sporting Complex stormwater harvesting scheme would help mitigate the effects of an urban catchment on the Macquarie River by removing pollutants such as oils, fuels, rubbish and soil prior to entering the tank. This in effect removes these pollutants from the stormwater pipe network and thus prevents them from entering the Macquarie River.

5. Promotion of the project to encourage improved water management in broader community

The installation of the stormwater harvesting system was to be incorporated into Council’s overall ‘Water Wise’ campaign and provide an opportunity to demonstrate best practice to residents. A series of opportunities for the public and professional sectors were to be held during the construction phase.

6. Offsetting carbon footprint

The original proposal to offset carbon emissions from the Apex Oval East Dubbo Sporting Complex was to commit to offsetting via the purchase of Green Energy through Council’s electricity supplier. It was proposed to be an ongoing commitment that would cost Council approximately $1,100 per annum.

7. Cost Effectiveness

The original grant funding proposal estimated a payback period of 43 years whereby the price of water supplied by the stormwater harvesting scheme went below the projected cost of potable water.

2.3 Original Project Duration as per the Funding Agreement

This section describes the objectives that were articulated in the funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Dubbo City Council. Over the length of the project significant rainfall led to significant delays in construction. The original project duration is presented in this section in order for the reader to understand the full extent of the Apex Oval Stormwater Harvesting project.

From the date of the signing of the funding agreement to the completion of construction the Apex Oval Stormwater Harvesting project was to be undertaken over a period of 15 months from 24 January 2011 to April 2012. Actual construction was to take 9 months from September 2011 to April 2012.

TABLE 3: Milestone Targets



Description of Milestone Task

Original Milestone

Completion Date


Agreement executed by the Recipient and

provided to the Department for execution.

15 January 2011


Design and Documentation phase

15 May 2011


Purchase and delivery of material and equipment

1 September 2011


Installation of tank and stormwater harvesting


1 February 2012


Installation and establishment of playing surface

9 April 2012

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