A popular and effective stormwater management tool, permeable paving has been used in several commercial projects throughout Australia. Permeable paving uses purpose designed paving units and specially graded base materials to allow excess stormwater to filtrate through the pavement surface to the sub base beneath where it can be harvested, recycled or returned to the water table.

The successful use of permeable paving in many commercial projects has led to several residential and multi-residential projects adopting the same technique in their landscaping. The ability to capture and reuse as much water as possible is crucial to a sustainable future and the specification of a permeable pavement is the starting point to a simple, environmentally effective, water saving system beneath the surface.

Melbourne receives five hundred billion litres of rainwater each year but only one per cent is captured. By installing permeable pavements that can capture up to 95 per cent of all stormwater runoff, the city not only can enhance its water recycling efforts but also mitigate the effects of stormwater flooding. Given the drought conditions across Australia, uncertainty about rainfall and ongoing water restrictions throughout the country, it is time to consider permeable paving systems.

World-renowned paving engineer Dr Brian Shackel has identified six key objectives achievable through the use of permeable paving in the whitepaper, ‘The Design, Construction and Evaluation of Permeable Pavement in Australia’.

Permeable paving can decrease the amount of rainfall runoff from pavement surfaces, eliminating or minimising the extent of the stormwater drainage system, leading to substantial savings in the overall project costs; reduce the size and need for rainwater retention facilities in road works by using the pavement for retention, improving land use; minimise or avoid downstream flooding; recharge and maintain aquifers and the natural groundwater; trap pollutants before they contaminate groundwater or drainage systems; and assist in the biological decomposition of hydrocarbon contaminants.

Adbri Masonry’s Marketing Manager Karl Wood expects the growing preference for permeable paving in residential projects to continue in 2015, with the trend triggered and encouraged by the successes in some of Australia’s most iconic commercial projects coupled with the environmental and practical benefits of the paving system.

Adbri Masonry is already receiving several enquiries for their Ecopave permeable pavers specifically developed for use in residential landscaping and driveways. Wood adds that the trend is to use an underground water tank placed under the permeable driveway to collect the percolated water.

Permeable pavers are available in a large range of colours, textures and formats for both commercial and residential projects.