Council staff and consultants from across the Central West of NSW descended on Dubbo on Friday 18 September for the inaugural regional Stormwater Best Management Practice Conference. The event was hosted by the Orana and Central West branches of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) in partnership with the Central West Councils Salinity & Water Quality Alliance with the support of Central Tablelands and Central West Local Land Services regions.
A conference dinner on the Thursday evening attracted 24 attendees. The dinner was sponsored by local engineering and development firm Geolyse and provided an opportunity for professionals across the region to network in an informal setting prior to the conference the following day.
Caltex Park Function Room in Dubbo was the venue for the conference which was kindly supplied by Dubbo City Council. While providing a great facility for an event of this type, the Caltex Park venue added further benefit to the conference as an example of a facility that captures and treats stormwater for reuse through irrigation on the world class playing surface.
The Caltex Park stormwater reuse project was one of five local stormwater best management practice case studies presented in the morning session. This session was extremely well received by attendees as it demonstrated the high calibre of projects being undertaken within the region, proving that significant and industry leading projects are not just the domain of major city councils and developers.
Nerida Taylor from Blacktown City Council provided conference attendees with an understanding of the Water Sensitive Urban Design Capacity Building Program in place at Blacktown and how this could translate to smaller, regional councils. This presentation was followed by Natalie Payne, Co-President of Stormwater NSW, who worked through a questionnaire to gain a greater understanding of how Stormwater NSW can work with regional councils to achieve best management practice stormwater management.
Throughout the day Ecosol displayed stormwater treatment solutions as part of their high quality industry display. Additionally, Geolyse provided information on the services that they are able to provide across the fields of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Planning, Surveying, Architecture and Environmental projects, and IPWEA were promoted as an industry association for public works engineers.
The afternoon session saw Diana Kureen from Central Tablelands Local Land Services provide an introduction to Water Sensitive Urban Design which led into an interactive workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Rod Wiese, Director Storm Consulting, and provided participants with an opportunity to understand the impacts of urbanisation, appreciate the benefits of stormwater management and to consider alternative techniques.
To conclude the day, a site visit to Keswick Estate in Dubbo was held to allow participants to understand the unique challenges faced at this development site including managing stormwater flows while protecting remnant EEC Fuzzy Box Woodland.
Feedback from the 43 conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of a similar event being held in the future.