New projects have been announced as part of a promise to fix what has been described as a “number one environmental issue” in Tuggeranong.
The drain naturalisation work seeks to better reflect the natural environment by removing concrete and adding plant life to an area.
Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the drain naturalisation works would filter out nutrients that caused algae growth in Lake Tuggeranong.
“The naturalisation process not only improves water quality, but also produces very attractive urban environments with ripple ponds, areas of water plants, more trees and the like,” he said.
Part of the Tuggeranong Creek stormwater drain will be removed and replaced with natural elements.
The ACT Government will also modify 54 street kerbs across Kambah, plan for stormwater recycling infrastructure in the suburb, and grow water plants to trap sediments and absorb nutrients from garden clippings and fertilisers in the Tuggeranong area.
The artificial lake has a long history of blue-green algae growths and in 2022 recorded its lowest water health rating to date in an annual report.
Greens Member for Brindabella Johnathan Davis acknowledged Lake Tuggeranong’s water quality had long been a concern.
“As the Greens MLA for this area, it will be unsurprising to know that these issues of environmental concern are regularly raised with me by my constituents,” he said.
“This is the number one environmental issue in Tuggeranong raised with me on an almost daily basis.”
President of the Tuggeranong Community Council, vice chair of Southern ACT Catchment Group and convenor of Tuggeranong Lake Carers Glenys Patulny said she welcomed the announcement.
Ms Patulny said the drain naturalisation works would help to filter out any contaminants in the stormwater before it reached Lake Tuggeranong.
“You can’t fix up the lake unless you fix up the stuff coming into the lake,” she said.
“I think it’s a great first step.”
Mr Rattenbury said works to ensure the water quality of artificial lakes in the Australian Capital Territory would improve people’s experience of them.
“They were designed to be pollutant traps – and in some ways they’ve done their job extremely well,” he said.
“That is why we do see the build-up of nutrients, and therefore the algae blooms that arise. But also Canberras want to use the lake for recreation.
“Whether it’s taking their dog for a walk and letting their dog swim in it, going out on a kayak, going out on a stand-up paddle board or just having a swim on a hot summer’s day.
“We’ve got to start that long-term project of turning the water quality around in our lakes.”
Further information about the projects is available online at https://www.environment.act.gov.au/water/act-healthy-waterways/home.