14 August 2008

An innovative irrigation project will be installed at The University of Queensland Boyce Garden at 6 Range Street, Toowoomba, in time for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers from September 19 to 28.

The project involves the installation of three, 110,000 litre concrete tanks that will be installed underground in the open parkland area of the six hectare heritage-listed gardens.

The tanks will collect and store stormwater runoff rainfall from the roof of the Education Centre in Jellicoe Street, and the Boyce Gardens Maintenance Shed located at the Owen Street entrance to the garden.

A $50,000 grant from the Federal Government Community Water Grants and matching funding by The University of Queensland through the Boyce Garden Trust Fund has enabled the project to proceed.

The UQ Boyce Garden is named for the late Dr Leslie Boyce and his wife Margaret, who established it after their wedding in 1930, and who lived and gardened at the site for more than 80 years.

The Boyces donated their estate to UQ in 1969 in trust, to hold the land in perpetuity for educational purposes and to preserve and maintain the gardens and natural forest for use as a Botanic Garden and Natural Forest for the education of the public.

The Development Supervisor at the UQ Boyce Garden, Mr Ian Gordon, said the new project would solve a major problem.

“There is a lack of bore water which makes maintenance of the gardens very difficult and any future new garden developments impossible,” he said.

“The installation of above-ground storage tanks would not be appropriate for a heritage-listed property and this underground storage facility will have top soil restored on top to bring the surface back to how it looked prior to installation,” he said.

According to Mr Gordon, filling of the three tanks can be accomplished with approximately 20mm of rainfall.

The outlet line from the underground tanks will be connected in to an existing network of underground water mains, enabling the water to be pumped into the main irrigation tank at the main garden entrance on Range Street. This will allow the underground tanks to be kept in a relatively empty condition so that all rainfall events can be captured to provide additional water for storage.

Three local contractors are involved in the project installation.

Durable Concrete Tanks of Withcott will construct the tanks on-site. Nick Wagner of Joe Wagner Earthmoving will undertake the removal of the soil for construction to be carried out and the reinstatement of the top soil when the tanks are in place. David Williamson of Williamson Brothers Plumbing will undertake the plumbing and electrical installation.

Mr Gordon said The University of Queensland was planning a Carnival of Flowers seminar and workshop involving staff from Irrigation Australia Pty Ltd.

“We hope installation will be complete so that Carnival visitors to the Boyce Garden will be able to inspect the finished article,” he said.

Media: Ian Gordon, telephone 0417 796 887 or Jan King at 0413 601 248.