Goldfields Reservoir providing year-round water for parks and gardens


Northern Grampians Shire Council in partnership with GWMWater, have completed a recycled water project at Goldfields Reservoir, St Arnaud. The project called Greening St Arnaud, will see the reservoir continually topped up with recycled water during the winter period and used as a water supply for the town’s parks and gardens.

The Greening St Arnaud project commenced in September 2020 and was funded by the Integrated Water Management (IWM) – Resilient and Liveable Cities and Towns Program, a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) initiative. While recycled water has been used to irrigate Lord Nelson Park and St Arnaud Lawn Cemetery for a number of years, this project will see the benefits of water re-use and its application extended to other green spaces in the township.

Goldfields Reservoir is located at Lock Road, St Arnaud and was once the town water supply and a popular recreation lake. It was recently reinstated as a council owned water storage facility that stores harvested stormwater and is used for watering council’s parks and gardens.

The joint project between Council and GWMWater will see as much as 25 ML/year of recycled water being transferred from May through to September from the winter storage at GWMWater’s wastewater treatment plant to top up the harvested stormwater at the reservoir. The recycled water irrigating St Arnaud’s public green spaces will reduce demand on the drinking water supply and significantly reduce council’s operating costs.

GWMWater has supplied a Site Management Plan for Council that has been endorsed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for the use of recycled water. GWMWater is conducting regular monitoring to ensure the recycled water management meets EPA guidelines.

Residents may notice the water level rising at the Goldfields Reservoir and signage has been erected to alert the public that recycled water is in use.

Recycled water from the reservoir can now be used at:

  • King Georges Park
  • Queen Mary Gardens
  • Market Square
  • the Town Hall Gardens
  • Pioneer Park
  • Bicentennial Park

Mayor Cr Murray Emerson said the benefits of the project would be appreciated by residents and visitors alike for years to come.

“Thanks to DELWP funding and our partnership with GWMWater, the Greening St Arnaud project is now complete and providing reliable and cost-effective recycled water supply to many of our public parks and open spaces in St Arnaud,” the Mayor said.

“Our Parks and Gardens staff have a lot more options with their annual plantings and watering plans for our recreation areas and parks and this will greatly improve the tourist appeal and liveability for our townspeople.

“Council now has the capacity to water our parks and gardens throughout the summer regardless of restrictions. What a great win for the township.”

GWMWater Managing Director Mark Williams commended council on their proactive approach to securing a sustainable and secure water supply for green areas in St Arnaud.

“Recycled water has a lot of potential and provides an important resource for the Grampians, Wimmera and Mallee regions as an alternative water supply,” he said.

“Ten of our 28 wastewater treatment plants are currently supplying recycled water to off-site customers across the region, including St Arnaud, and in some towns there is still excess recycled water available.

“If anyone is interested in accessing a recycled water supply, they should contact us during business hours on 1300 659 961.”

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