Garden roof for Melbourne desalination plant

The premier of Victoria state in Australia, John Brumby, announced on 16 September 2010 that the new Melbourne desalination plant will feature a living ‘green roof’ larger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the biggest in the southern hemisphere

Local company Fytogreen has secured a Aus$ 4.3 million (US$ 4.0 million) contract to design, install and maintain a landscaped, living green roof on top of the desalination plant in Wonthaggi.

Brumby said construction of the desalination plant green roof would be among the largest coastal revegetation projects in Victoria’s history and would deliver major environmental benefits to communities in the region.

“The living green roof will be planted entirely with local native species, providing a sustainable centrepiece for a project that will secure the future water needs of our state,” said the premier. “The roof will house more than 98,000 plants and shrubs, grown from seeds and stock collected locally. A foam resin developed by Fytogreen will be used as an underlay, to store water and nutrients.”

Water minister Tim Holding said the environmentally sensitive design of Victoria’s desalination plant meant it would be unlike any other desalination plant in Australia or the world.

“The design of the green roof garden is based on wind testing and water demand modelling and on a scale model that has been growing at Waratah Bay since February 2009,” Mr Holding said. “The outer edges of the roof will feature a rich tapestry of succulent groundcovers suited to exposure to wind and sun, while small shrubs will grow in the more protected centre area.

The desalination plant will deliver up to 150 million m³ of water a year to Melbourne, Geelong and some regional communities from December 2011.