Permeable Paving - Water Harvesting

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The Concept

The students designed an automatic watering system that would use grey water from run off and direct rainfall to help water bamboo which would in turn help to feed Adelaide’s Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi. The group used permeable paving to help capture and store water which was triggered by a moisture probe to pump into a holding tank. This then watered the bamboo via gravity feed.

This project successfully replicates a University of South Australia research project.


The Creation

Permeable paving is a water conservation technique that is designed to replace traditionally paved or bituminised areas such as car parks with a water collection strategy using permeable pavers. Water is filtered through the pavers and a specially designed substrate made of a geotextile fabric and dolomite and collected in an underground tank set up.

The team built the tank with the help of Jason Copeland (Bamboo Coordinator Adelaide Zoo) who used an excavator. Then using hand tools, the students dug the rest of the tank and lined it with brickie sand (30cm) at the base then dolomite rocks (60cm), geotextile fabric, gravel (10cm) and finally the permeable pavers.

A 300mm diameter PVC pipe was installed from the bottom extending 300 mm above the pavers. This had holes at the bottom to let the water in so water level could be seen. The moisture probe was placed half way up and the pump at the bottom.

A steel pole was erected and a toolbox that the students made in Electrotech was attached to store the electronics and solar battery. The solar panel was fixed to the top of this. The panel was angled at 13 degrees more than the latitude for Adelaide.

This was a Collaborative Project which is to be used as a trial set up and the students were appreciative of support from the University of South Australia, Salisbury Council, NAMIG, ADBRI Masonry and Pooraka Sand and Metal.

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