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Healthy Waterways wins planning award
The ACT Healthy Waterways team was recognised for excellence in planning at the recent Stormwater NSW Awards.
The 2017 NSW Award for Excellence in Strategic or Master Planning was one of only two excellence awards given at the annual conference. The project will now be an automatic entry into the National Stormwater Awards for Excellence to be announced in October 2018.
In accepting the award, ACT Healthy Waterways Program Manager, Justin Foley, paid tribute to the many people involved in the Project.
“This is a joint initiative of the Australian and ACT governments to improve the quality of water entering the region’s lakes and waterways and flowing into the Murrumbidgee River system.
“Working to a fixed budget and a fixed timeline, effective planning was critical and, as a result, we engaged with stakeholders early and often.
“We took a truly collaborative approach to the planning process, setting up project advisory groups that included scientists, industry specialists and members of the community.
“Although the priority has always been water quality, we also took into account important matters like operation and maintenance and the lifecycle of each asset to determine which would progress,” said Mr Foley.
Construction on the first project – two new wetlands at Isabella Pond in Tuggeranong - has already begun, with the next package of projects expected to roll out before the end of 2017.
Gardeners embrace water-sensitive design
There’s a lot of interest in creating water-friendly gardens in the ACT and surrounding regions with more than 60 home owners applying for funding under the Demonstration Sites Grants Program.
The program offered grants of up to $3,000 for urban and $7,500 for rural property owners to come up with innovative solutions to better manage and treat stormwater on their block.
Projects submitted include rain gardens, mulching systems, downpipe disconnection, nature strip treatments, swales and erosion control in rural areas. Fifteen have been selected and each recipient will have 12 months to complete the works.
The finished projects will be included in the Canberra Open Gardens scheme.
The Demonstration Sites Grants Program was open to homeowners in the ACT, Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, Snowy Monaro Regional Council (Murrumbidgee River Catchment area only) and Yass Valley Council areas as part of the H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy campaign. Seven of the final 15 are located outside the ACT.
The ACT Government – in partnership with the Australian Government – is also building infrastructure like wetlands, ponds and rain gardens to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.
Can you spot a platypus?
August is Platypus Month and the response to a campaign to find volunteer spotters has been so successful Waterwatch is considering adding more sites in 2018.
“So many people are keen to be involved. It’s fantastic,” said Woo O’Reilly, Regional Waterwatch Facilitator.
“We have more than enough volunteers now for this year’s sessions but, with our expanding database of willing spotters, we’re likely to add some more sites to the survey for next year.”
She was quick to point out that platypus sightings are welcome any time and that August is a good time to see them.
“Late winter is the ideal time to spot platypus; they forage more as there is less food available and the males are out and about preparing for the breeding season.
“We need as much data as possible to get a better understanding of platypus numbers in rivers and creeks in the Canberra region.”
The platypus is a shy animal so often thought to only live in remote areas. In reality though, they can be found in many rivers and creeks in the ACT region. They have even been spotted in Lake Burley Griffin.
“It’s not their presence or absence that we’re looking at but rather the density of animals we find in a given stretch of river,” said Woo.
Sixteen formal surveys will be conducted in August at various locations, including Jerrabomberra Wetlands, the Molonglo Reach and on the Murrumbidgee River near Cooma.
If you spot a platypus, report the sighting to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the time, date, location and any notes about behaviour and habitat.
More information about Waterwatch and the various monitoring programs they conduct can be found on the website.
Waterwatch is supported by ACT Healthy Waterways, a joint initiative of the ACT and Australian governments to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.
us share the H2OK message
We have a growing suite of videos for you to use and share. You can find them on our YouTube channel. Feel free to embed videos on your website, share them on your social media channels or use them in presentations.
Please like our Facebook page, share and comment on our posts. A recent video about the talented kayakcameraman is proving really popular. We’re also on Twitter. Feel free to use these hashtags to join the conversation. #H2OK #healthywaterways #onlyraindownthestormwaterdrain
We’ve scoured the internet looking for the best advice around disconnecting downpipes and building your own rain garden.
Subscribe to receive up to date information about the construction of infrastructure and H2OK activities.
Exhibition and display material
A set of H2OK corflute posters and a teardrop banner are available for use at events, festivals and shows. They’re in regular use so you will have to make a booking via email.
Posters – A3 with four different H2OK messages.
DL flyers – Tips for keeping stormwater clean and our waterways healthy.
Stickers, magnets and temporary tattoos – Featuring our fantastic platypus and the message “ONLY RAIN DOWN THE STORMWATER DRAIN”
Email us if you have an idea or an event that will help us spread the H2OK message.
Water quality top of the list
Improvements in water quality are the priority for the ACT Healthy Waterways team as designs are finalised ahead of construction.
Program Manager, Justin Foley, said the team is working with the primary contractors (GHD and Construction Control) to identify areas where efficiencies can be made.
“Having consulted with the designers, the scientific community and the public about the project, the current phase is all about working through the detailed design process with the construction team. At this stage, it’s vital we do all we can to reduce costs so we can deliver the greatest number of assets and the best possible water quality outcomes,” said Foley.
He pointed to the planned wetland on Cotter Road as an example.
“It will be one of our biggest wetlands projects. Looking at it from a construction point of view, we have worked out that, with some minor design changes, we can reduce the cost but still produce a good water quality outcome.
“We’ve also been thinking about ways to manage earthworks which is one of the biggest expenses in a project of this size. Small changes in this area can have a huge impact on the construction budget,” said Foley.
ACT Healthy Waterways is a joint initiative of the ACT and Australian governments to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.
Work on one project – new wetlands in Isabella Pond – was fast-tracked to coincide with the upgrade of the weir and has already commenced. The remaining projects will be rolled out in ‘packages’ that will be determined in consultation with the construction team.
“This offers a further opportunity to identify efficiencies by grouping similar projects or working concurrently on sites in the same area.
“By September we will be ready to announce the first package of projects, with construction set to commence before the end of the year,” said Foley.