Sustainable Sports

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Melbourne attracts millions of people every year to sport and cultural events. Two venues in particular are notable for their sheer enormity and grandeur, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Flemington Racecourse. The MCG towers over most stadiums in the world attracting over 3.5million people annually. Incredibly, the Melbourne Spring Carnival attracted over 350,000 people in just a few weeks at the Flemington Racecourse in 2012.

When we think of these incredible grounds, we don’t often think of the great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes all year round.

Flemington Racecourse

In 2011 Flemington announced an innovative $1.8 million project for the installation of 6 desalination units to access a significant aquifer located beneath the racecourse. The project will save more than 150 megalitres water each year, greatly reducing its reliance on drinking water and helping to maintain its 2.3 kilometre racetrack as well as the grass training tracks.

That is the equivalent of saving the average annual consumption of more than 1000 Melbourne households, with future expansion plans to source all irrigation from groundwater.

MCG at Sunset

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), has also recently been named as a finalist in this year’s Banksia Sustainability Awards, widely recognised as Australia’s most prestigious environmental awards. In the Water – Our Most Precious Resource Award category, MCC is a joint finalist for the development of an underground water recycling facility in Yarra Park. The $24 million project, funded by the MCC ($18 million) and the Victorian Government ($6 million), treats sewage from the local sewerage network to Class A recycled water standards.

More than 180 million litres of recycled water will be produced each year, reducing the MCC’s use of potable water by approximately 50 per cent. The water will then be re-used primarily as irrigation in Yarra Park, as well as for cleaning and toilet flushing at the MCG. The plant recycles 600 kilolitres of local wastewater per day, and has helped the Melbourne Cricket Club reduce its use of drinking water by 50 per cent.

It’s great knowing that large venues are really investing in sustainable water management. Not only are they improving their environmental impact but they are also generating a real financial return and providing an example for others investing in sustainable water management.

Do you know of any other interesting projects around the world, we’d love to hear about them?