In June 2007 it was suggested to Vestry that St George’s should apply for one of the Commonwealth Government’s Community Water Grants which were offered to organisations such as ours to harvest and re-use rainwater and to be seen as an important role model within the local community for the Government’s Sustainability and Greening policy.
Our aim was to demonstrate that we could harvest sufficient water to make ourselves almost totally self sufficient for garden watering and toilet flushing and at the same time involve and gain the support of organisations using the Church Facilities as well as the wider local community. We would harvest and store sufficient rainwater to meet this challenge, we would replace the outmoded plumbing systems with up to date water saving toilet flushing equipment and we would do this in a way which would not detract from the architectural integrity of the Church and associated buildings. We would show our local and wider community that the parish of St George East Ivanhoe is concerned for our planet and we will do what we can to promote this project to our friends, family and associates. We would run sustainable homes workshops.
The storage options, capacity, costs and our current water usage were researched in detail before preparing a project brief upon which quotes were obtained. The quotes ranged from $50,000 to in excess of $70,000
Our application to the Government was successful and in February 2008 we were given a grant of $50,000 and by November 2008 the project reached near full capacity, and water savings took effect immediately.
Many thousands of people use our buildings and facilities annually, including parishioners, students and parents from local schools, community groups and many more, We have estimated that we will save in excess of 100,000 litres of water per year now that the system is fully operational.
How does it all work?
The rain water from the roof of the church and adjoining building is collected from the down pipes on the north side of the church and stored in the bladders. This stored water is then pumped up to the existing 1000 litre header tank at the top of the upstairs hall and this provides gravity fed water for the main toilets. The Tank behind the hall is fed by rain water from the Evans Hall and provides water for the disabled toilet in the Hall.
If the storage facility was ever to run out of rain water the normal water supply would ‘kick in’ automatically. Tank water will also be available to water the memorial garden thus saving more water and enabling us to water outside the present general water restriction times.