Olympic legacy and clean water
Water management is a multi-tiered issue.
At the entirely manmade Sydney
International Regatta Centre (SIRC), home
of rowing for the 2000 Olympic Games,
the objective of clean water has involved
setting up the entire process from scratch.
Located in Penrith, north of Sydney, SIRC is
built on a former sand and gravel quarry. The
developers of Penrith Lakes had to work within
the quarry environment and create a suitable
ecosystem to achieve the goals of making a
public sport and recreation space. The ongoing
goal is to ensure that the water quality in the
main lakes reaches the “primary contact water”
standards at least 95 per cent of the time, which
is the acceptable level for people to swim in.
As the water supply for the regatta lakes comes
from urban runoff and storm water which is
potentially turbid and high in pathogens, four
detention basins (treatment areas) were built.
These basins act to purify the water before it is
released into the regatta lakes. This purification
is achieved through the use of native aquatic
plants chosen for their ability to absorb nitrates
and phosphates while the clay sediment in the
basins acts to absorb metals.
The detention basin system at the
Sydney International Regatta Centre.
The change in colour of the water
shows how the quality improves as
the water passes through the series
of detention basins.