The NINA Access Pathway is designed to capture, store and transport rainwater. Following an Australia-wide rollout, about 4.6 billion cubic meters of water per annum would fall within the boundaries formed by the NINA Access Pathway.
This represents approximately 514 cubic meters per household- 184% of annual household consumption! The water value is also increased by its proximity to end-users.
The primary barrier to efficient economic use of rainfall and storm water run-off is the health and safety risks posed by contamination of this water. Organic materials such as leaf litter, animal feces, and sewerage overflows can be treated with relative ease by chlorination. However, the removal of heavy metals and complex chemical compounds is a major challenge, both physically and economically. The major source of significant contamination is through contact with the urban road surface.
Above: Rain falling within the boundary of the Pathway is captured and stored, offering massive environmental and financial benefits. Rain which falls outside the Pathway (marked in red) is contaminated with heavy metals by the road surface. NINA catches the rain before it is contaminated, keeping it clean and usable.
The design of existing storm water systems is based upon the speedy removal of water rather than the retention of water for non potable uses (such as gardening, washing and flushing) or for quality improvement to potable standards. These designs are reflective of an era where there was no water shortage in major cities and flood control was the primary concern. In modern times, water scarcity is an increasingly significant crisis.
The following links display a few articles about global water shortages. An online search will produce a plethora of articles and opinions all united by the understanding that without a drastic change to our current system, billions of people are going to run out of water in our lifetimes.
Note that a country like India does not lack for rainfall. The water shortage is caused by the failure of existing infrastructure to efficiently capture and distribute water as necessary. NINA can divert water resources to the areas where it is most needed.
Cities are characterized by “hard surfaces” e.g. roofed buildings, roads, paths and other structures. These surfaces allow for the rapid acceleration of water along slopes towards receiving streams, rivers and the sea.
High levels of pollution are currently transported by urban water. Pollutants include litter and general detritus, sewer overflows, vehicle emissions, animal feces, garden fertilisers, silt and vegetation. While natural ecosystems can absorb some pollutants, metropolitan centers produce waste streams that are too concentrated and which move too quickly via concrete drains and pipes to be assimilated by receiving waters.
The NINA Access Pathway system provides choices in the management of storm water which are currently not available.These include the option to “split” storm water into two, three or more streams.
One stream is water which has been isolated from contact with the urban road surface, but may include surface water from footpaths and gardens. This water has avoided contamination by road surface pollutants. This water is good for general watering purposes such as gardens, environmental flows back into natural waterways and industrial uses.
Another stream is water collected solely from downpipes flowing off roof surfaces. This water is substantially free of organic pollutants and when combined with “first flush” systems it is generally the cleanest urban storm water and is free of fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, chemicals and antibiotics. This water can be filtered locally and brought to a potable standard.
The break-up of storm water flows may permit aggregate flow speed to be reduced, diminishing flash flooding and allowing for the more targeted treatment of road water (whose volume would be much lower).
Unmanaged flows have been accredited with causing algal blooms, fish kills, closed beaches and shrinking fisheries, all of which have direct effects on the health, prosperity and amenity of urban areas.
Should a government adopt the NINA Access Pathway,it becomes a major contributor of value in the evolution of urban water management.
Within Australia, the economic value of the rain water is substantial if fully captured and at a price of $2.50 per cubic meter, this value could approach $10 billion per annum!
While not all would be captured, all data indicates that rainfall should be part of the economic consideration of the NINA Access Pathway network.
At a price of $2.50 (AUD,) if 40% of water falling within the NINA Access Pathway was captured and stored, the value would be $5.79 Billion. If this figure could be increased to 80% that value rises to just under $10 Billion PER YEAR!
Clean storm and rainwater can be harvested by communities, public water companies or commercial interests. NINA could charge for flows (volume based) passing through the NINA Access Pathway and delivered to collection networks or it could charge interested parties for the use of the system in a given area (non volume based charge).
Potable water suitable for drinking and washing is the most stringently regulated for public health reasons. However, this is a relatively small proportion- approximately 25% of water consumed by urban and town folk.
The NINA Access Pathway would greatly alleviate demand for water sourced from dams and reservoirs and reduce the costs of distribution. This represents substantial economic and environmental benefits.
Water scarcity is an increasingly significant global issue, and is just one of the many problems for which NINA offers an elegant solution.