ACT’s biggest water quality infrastructure project reaches completion

Joint media release: Mick Gentleman and Zed Seselja

Twenty healthy waterways projects across Canberra are now complete as part of the Federal Government’s partnership with the ACT Government in the Territory’s biggest ever water quality infrastructure initiative.

ACT Senator Zed Seselja and ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman marked the completion of the $93.5 million ACT Healthy Waterways initiative and announced additional University of Canberra research to inform management of water quality in Lake Tuggeranong.

Senator Seselja said the $85 million Federal Government 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,” Senator Seselja said.

“Projects such as this are only possible because of our strong economy and I’m very proud to have been able 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.”

Minister Gentleman said the 20 new assets had the biggest footprint of any water quality infrastructure initiate 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.”

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
  • how to manage water quality in Lake Tuggeranong and other urban lakes.

“This research by the University of Canberra will continue to look at management interventions for Lake Tuggeranong with the aim of reducing blue green algal blooms,” Minister Gentleman said.

Minister Gentleman said the Healthy Waterways project included significant education, monitoring and research.

“Public awareness activities are helping to prevent pollutants from entering waterways in the first place H2OK: Keeping Our Waterways Healthy has been a fantastic education program targeting households and businesses with its message of ‘Only rain down the stormwater drain’,” Minister Gentleman said.

“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.

“I encourage everyone to do their part helping to keep our waterways healthy by joining their local catchment group.”

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