Stormwater rapids flowed down the footpath and flooded into private properties, while trees new and old on nearby Netherby Reserve struggled for moisture in soil not replenished since the Millennium Drought.

Innovative drainage work solved the regular flooding by redirecting stormwater to soakage trenches which zig-zag the reserve.
Annual growth increments in young English oak (Quercus robur) attest to the value of the flood to foliage approach, and data from the trenches quantify how much water is intercepted and harvested.

Subject to suitable weather, this session will enjoy a leisurely 10 minute walk to see Netherby Reserve's datalogger-equipped infiltration system and the young oaks that will substantially increase its stormwater-management capacity as they grow.

Dr Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson’s professional and personal interests cover many areas of the biological, engineering and human sciences, which overlap in his work in local government

As Mitcham Council’s Sustainable Infrastructure Engineer, his work at the interface of civil engineering and urban horticulture focuses on enhancing natural and built assets through integration by design.
Drawing on technical and academic knowledge and practical skills developed as a hands-on landscaper and horticulturist, Tim works with Council’s teams developing methods to demonstrate how green infrastructure can infiltrate stormwater into reactive clay soil to deliver drainage solutions, sustain urban vegetation and minimise impacts on built assets. His civil engineering doctoral research showed that infiltration through permeable paving reduced reactive soil movement near trees, and the depth at which the roots grew increased, thereby reducing the likelihood of root-related pavement damage. Tim’s role as an Industry Adjunct with the University of South Australia’s School of Natural and Built Environments links the University’s multi-disciplinary expertise with opportunities to conduct applied research in Council’s streets and parks. As a result, many of Mitcham’s working WSUD sites incorporate experimental design components and research partners are working on an ongoing basis to analyse the data they’re providing.

Russell King

Russell is the Principal Engineer at the City of Mitcham in South Australia, and has over 15 years experience in Local Government working in a number of areas such as stormwater, roads, traffic, asset management, and construction. He has a passion for innovation and improving the way Councils deliver projects instead of sticking with ‘how we’ve always done it’, and making the world a better place for his children one WSUD project at a time. When he’s not in the office doing engineering he loves stopping pucks on the ice hockey rink, and trying to find tasty new places to eat around the world while travelling with his family.