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Water pumping station at Lnon-potable water filterake Burley Griffin

Non-potable Water Upgrade

A new $2.9 million water infrastructure upgrade now enables use of non-potable (non-drinking) water from nearby Lake Burley Griffin to irrigate the Gardens.

Providing up to 170 million litres of water from Lake Burley Griffin, the project ensures the long term sustainability for the Gardens which are home to the most diverse collection of Australian native plant species in the world. It will also allow regular irrigation even in times of tough water restrictions and free up valuable drinking water from Canberra's water supply.

The Gardens strives to demonstrate sustainable practices and showcase low water use in horticulture. Over the last ten years, the Gardens has undertaken a number of water efficiency measures including the installation of a new computerised automatic irrigation system. The Gardens annual water usage is less than one day of Canberra's summer-time urban water use.

The pump station, located on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, contains a state of the art ultrafiltration system that brings the water quality up to the World Health Organisation drinking standard.

A pipeline under Parkes Way transfers water from the lake into the Gardens' one megalitre reservoir. Water quality monitoring will ensure the water pumped from the lake meets acceptable standards for non-potable use.

If the non-potable water levels run low or the required water quality is not met, pumping from the lake can be suspended and potable water can be diverted to the ANBG's reservoir. Positive pressure in the pipes ensures non-potable water cannot back flow to the ACTEW system.

This significant upgrade to the Gardens' water infrastructure was funded through the Director of National Parks capital works budget, with an additional $1.5 million provided by the Australian Government's Water for the Future - National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns.

Buildings in the Gardens use drinking water supplied separately from ACTEW.

Taps were turned on to officially start the Gardens' access to non-potable water at a ceremony on 24 March, 2011, by Senator Kate Lundy and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell.

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