Environmental monitoring is an important component of the design, construction and operation of Salisbury's urban water management strategies.
Water Quality monitoring programs are developed and implemented to meet the following objectives:
- determine the quality of untreated stormwater to determine baseline catchment characteristics - useful for catchment management and designing treatment systems
- measure the performance of wetlands, aquifers and other water treatment systems
- comply with regulatory requirements (EPA Licence for Injection of Recycled Stormwater into Aquifers)
- determine and monitor the effectiveness of urban water recycling operations
- ensure reWater supplied to or utilised by customers is fit for purpose
Groundwater levels and water quality are regularly monitored to ensure aquifers and perched water tables are not adversely impacted by ASR Operations or by the use of recycled water within the area. Monitoring perched water tables also assists in the design of new wetlands.
The volume of sediment accumulation in wetlands is monitored annually and the information used to program de-silting operations. When de-silting is required, sediments are analysed to enable safe recycling back into the environment.
Aquatic plants are regularly monitored to determine plant health and measure biodiversity. Information gathered from monitoring helps to gain a better understanding on the establishment of planted and non-planted species, and is often used to formulate replanting programs. It can also be useful to monitor algae levels and weed species to predict environmental problems and determine when corrective actions need to be implemented.
Birds visiting and breeding in the wetlands are monitored opportunistically with listings maintained and updated on a regular basis. Occasionally specific surveys may be undertaken (Birds Australia surveyed Greenfields wetlands in August 2009).
Apart from providing interesting information, the data is also useful for ensuring the timing and location of wetland maintenance activities are programmed to minimise any impact to birds breeding in the wetlands.
Macro-invertebrate sampling is being trialled at selected wetlands in spring to determine its usefulness an indicator of wetland establishment and health.
Pest species such as carp, are also monitored opportunistically to enable control programs to be developed.
Opening up some monitoring activities to the public is a great way of getting school groups and members of the community involved.