Sustainable water management for urban agriculture, gardens and public open space irrigation: a case study in Perth.
Business and Law
School of Business
Urban agriculture has been increasingly popular as a form of modern agriculture in urban settings. It includes community gardens, fruit orchards, home gardens, veggie patches, public open spaces, reserves, urban forest, and recreational landscaping. However, irrigation using urban water supply has been identified as a major constraints for the development of urban agriculture. This study presents a sustainable water management trial at Butler, a northern sub-urban development in Perth, Western Australia, for urban irrigation. The trial system consists of a number of water saving features including untreated fit-for-purpose groundwater supplied via a third pipe network, drip irrigation, local weather station, soil moisture sensors connected with a local weather station, night time irrigation, soil enhancement with conditioning and mulching, and use of native plants and vegetation. The trial outcome was compared against controlled areas in terms of irrigation efficiency and sustainable water management for urban agriculture. The study demonstrated that a fit-for-purpose irrigation along with water sensitive land management could be a sustainable alternative for urban agriculture that would achieve a significant water saving and irrigation efficiency at urban settings. However, quality of untreated groundwater can be an issue while utilizing it for irrigation, but the research has shown that it can be managed with innovative irrigation techniques. This indicates that the fit-for-purpose irrigation system with water sensitive land management practices would be highly supportive in sustainable development of urban agriculture, vegetation and recreational landscaping.