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The Australian National University

Landscape irrigation

Sullivans Creek

The University's water management program aims to:

  • reduce the need for irrigation by improving soil structure, choosing better plants and watering for shorter periods.
  • eliminate the need to use drinking water for irrigation by collecting and reusing, rain, stormwater and waste water.

It does this by:

  • Improving soil structure

    All landscape areas on campus have been treated with organic soil conditioner. The conditioner boosts beneficial microorganisms in the soil, improving soil structure. This increases the permeability and moisture-holding capacity of the soil which reduces the need to water and the amount of run-off and erosion.
  • Choosing better plants

    Choosing plants which are drought tolerant reduces water demand. Choosing pest and disease-resistant species minimised the use of pesticides and herbicides. Grass varieties with lower water needs have been introduced to sports grounds and recreation areas. Willows Oval, the most heavily-utilised sports ground on campus, has been converted to latest-generation synthetic turf so that, rather than requiring water, it now captures up to 7.5 million litres of rainwater per year.
  • Shorter watering periods and reduced coverage

    The timing and distribution of irrigation on campus was reviewed. Irrigation is now less frequent and operates for shorter times. In some areas it has been eliminated completely. New plantings are only watered during the establishment period.
  • Irrigating with rainwater and treated effluent

    Map showing the extent of unirrigated landscape on campus The map above shows the extent of unirrigated landscape on campus and areas where recycled water is used instead of potable water for irrigation.

Other water saving strategies

Learn more about the water-saving initiatives which are significantly reducing potable water consumption within and outside buildings across the Acton campus.

Updated:  16 June 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/Page Contact:  Systems & Information Technology