Harvest Lakes Estate, a new 115 hectare residential lot in Western Australia is demonstrating that a well-planned and implemented site development strategy is the key to achieving new levels of sustainability in urban housing.

The estate, Western Australia’s first and Australia’s largest GreenSmart Village, part of a Housing Industry Association initiative that aims to improve the quality of the built environment through promoting sustainability principles, not only in building design and construction but also in site development.

Harvest Lakes is being developed by a team of professionals under the direction of government land development specialist LandCorp, includiing consulting Sinclair Knight Merz which is carrying out the design, tender and contract administration of civil engineering and landscaping works in conjunction with landscape architects, McNally Newton.

Sinclair Knight Merz project manager Chris Beard says that the design of the Estate’s water management systems was central to the site achieving its environmental sustainability goals. “Harvest Lakes used to be a low-lying wetland area that had been degraded by ground clearing and stock agistment when it was previously used for farming,” says Beard. “it had to be rehabilitated as well as restructured, before any lots could be released and certainly before any new homes that might be built could take advantage of modern water and energy efficiency techniques.”

The Estate’s major feature is a large lake complete with an island lined with a stand of mature trees which will become a permanent habitat and refuge against drought for many species of waterfowl.

Beard says a water management design was established in accordance with the Water Sensitive Urban Design Guideline’s best management practices. “The Estate’s drainage area features stormwater runoff recharge and treatment systems linked to the permanent wetland areas,” he notes. “The system has been optimised through the installation of gross pollutant traps that capture hydrocarbons, sediments and floatables.

“The aim is to retain all the stormwater run-off within the site, both to augment existing irrigation sources, which are mainly borewater, and to return as much water as possible underground so that it constantly recharges the aquifer that lies under the Estate.”

Source: Building Products News.