With the final planting that took place at a rain garden in Isabella Plains this week, the ACT Government has completed it’s $93.5 million multi-project, two-year initiative to improve Canberra’s waterways.
The initiative which included an $85 million Federal Government investment, has seen ponds, wetlands and rain gardens built and creeks restored while wetlands have been created in Evatt, Holder, Melba, Monash, Fyshwick, Narrabundah and Kingston.
A culmination of 20 individual projects, it was the territory’s biggest ever water quality infrastructure initiative and was designed to reduce the number of nutrients, sediment and pollutants entering waterways.
ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman marked the completion of the ACT Healthy Waterways initiative on Tuesday (18 June) at the rain garden in Isabella Plains, which is the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Mr Gentleman said the 20 new assets had the biggest footprint of any water quality infrastructure ever undertaken in the ACT and were filtering pollutants from our stormwater.
“These projects are world leaders in terms of size and scope. The Isabella Plains rain garden, for example, is the largest in the southern hemisphere,” Minister Gentleman said.
“It’s a great credit to the project team responsible for design and construction that the project has been delivered on time and on budget, with finishing touches expected in coming weeks.
“Over the next two years, the community will see the assets settle into their environment as over half a million plants grow in, helping to filter the water and beautify the surrounds.
“By the end of June, there will be nearly 1000 stencils on footpaths all over the ACT reminding us all that stormwater flows into our lakes and waterways. Waterwatch has also seen over 200 volunteers monitoring 232 waterway sites across the ACT and the surrounding region.”
Dr Fiona Dyer has led a team of researchers from the University of Canberra as a part of Healthy Waterways to investigate the sources of stormwater pollution, how pollutants behave in our lakes and ponds and how to manage water quality in Lake Tuggeranong and other urban lakes.
The ACT Government also announced additional University of Canberra research to inform management of water quality in Lake Tuggeranong, to continue to look at management interventions for the lake with the aim of reducing blue-green algal blooms.
Mr Seselja said the Federal Government’s investment was vital for the ACT and the Murray–Darling Basin and water management.
“This project represented a once in a generation opportunity to significantly improve water quality in the ACT’s lakes, as well as the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee rivers and the broader Murray–Darling Basin,” he said.
“Projects such as this are only possible because of our strong economy and I’m very proud to have been able to deliver this funding for Canberra.
“Clean water is essential for life, not just for us, but for all the wildlife and plants that depend on it. Clean water is also a vital resource for households and businesses in the ACT and downstream in the Murray–Darling Basin.”