We love our waterways!
In 2009, world-first research on the social importance of waterways identified the Merri Creek as Victoria’s most popular urban creek. The research also highlighted the importance of recreational access to local waterways, with the vast majority of respondents (83%) feeling most personally connected to a waterway that is local to them.
Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They help to reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality and provide habitat for plants and animals.
Wetlands can be permanent (holding water all the time) or ephemeral (wetting and drying in response to rainfall). Given the land form change in Merri-bek, the majority of wetlands in the City are now constructed, built over the past 20 years with the exception of Coburg Lake which was constructed in
the early 1900s.
Wetlands are found at Jacana, Merri-Edgars creek confluence, Jones Park and Hosken Reserve. The Herbert Street Living Stream in Oak Park includes a small permanent water body
flowing into an ephemeral stream. A new wetland is under construction at Gavin Park in Pascoe Vale, and will open in mid-2022.
Off-stream wetland habitats, such as these, are of growing importance as refuges for aquatic species. They provide safe respite from fast moving flood waters during high flow events in the main creek channels, predicted to become stronger and
more common with climate change and increased urbanisation.
Reimagining Moonee Ponds Creek – 2022 Project Update
You may remember that last year Melbourne Water asked for your feedback on design concepts for the Moonee Ponds Creek Naturalisation Project. The design phase is progressing, and a new bridge has been added to the works! The recent update also includes a revised project timeline, information about impacts on vegetation and planning approval processes.
The project now includes the replacement of the pedestrian bridge that runs between Strathmore North Primary School and Margaret Street in Oak Park. This will see the older, smaller bridge replaced with a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge that is more than double the width, at 3 metres wide.
The project will reimagine a section of Moonee Ponds Creek to create a more appealing waterway, activate open space, enhance recreational opportunities along the creek, and improving waterway health. It aims to achieve lasting social, environmental and community outcomes that will provide inspiration for future sections of the creek to be transformed.
Melbourne Water is leading the project on behalf of the Chain of Ponds Collaboration Group, made up of 15 community and government organisations committed to transforming the creek into an iconic Melbourne waterway. Alongside Melbourne Water, we are working in partnership withMoonee Valley Council, Greater Western Water and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
To stay up to date on the project, you can subscribe to Melbourne Water's Community Project Updates.
Stormwater is the rain that runs off hard surfaces and goes into our drainage systems. Stormwater collects pollutants as it travels over roofs, roads, pavements and other surfaces. These pollutants include litter, chemicals, sediments, petrol and oils, and heavy metals.
The pollutants and litter that stormwater picks up also goes into our rivers and creeks. This will all flows into the ocean and effects the cleanliness and health of our environment.
Unlike sewage, stormwater is not treated. It spreads the pollution it picks up and causes issues like algae blooms, fish and animal deaths, sediment build-ups, litter and erosion.
Cities also create more stormwater than natural environments. They increase the number of hard surfaces in an area that do not absorb water, such as roofs, driveways and roads. This increases the amount of stormwater that erodes and pollutes our waterways. This then also changes habitats and can affect local species of plants and animals.
Our plan to become a water sensitive city
In August 2020, we put in place our Integrated Water Management (IWM) 2040 Strategy and a five-year action plan.
Our strategy includes 5 key outcomes:
- Collaborating in a water sensitive city
- Resilient and livable landscapes
- Wise water use
- Healthy waterways
- Community embracing water sensitive urban design
These outcomes each have indicators and measures relating to pollution reduction, flow, urban greening, trees, urban heat, Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) assets and education, open space and water usage.
- Integrated Water Management (IWM) 2040 Strategy – Towards a Water Sensitive City (PDF)
- Five-year action plan (PDF)
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is an approach to planning and designing urban areas to make use of stormwater and reduce the harm it causes to our rivers and creeks. WSUD does this by using urban planning and design to reuse stormwater, stopping it from reaching our waterways by mimicking the natural water cycle as closely as possible.
We have put in place many WSUD assets across Merri-bek including as raingardens, tree pits, sediment ponds, wetlands, swales, and rainwater tanks.
To meet our Intergrated Water Management (IWM) 2040 Strategy and our five-year action plan goals, we are working on a number of WSUD infrastructure projects. You can see our latest projects on Conversations Merri-bek. You can also find out about completed WSUD projects on our Completed Council projects page.
We have been also working with Melbourne University to investigate passive irrigation. We want to find out whether this will improve street tree health and reduce stormwater pollution.
Developers need to meet Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) objectives during design, construction, and operation stages of their development. Part of this is meeting the policy objectives around water resources. For more information about how to meet water resource policy objectives and incorporate WSUD into your development, visit our Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) page.
These are a range of WSUD Streetscape Raingarden and Tree Pit Design Package resources that can be freely downloaded.
- Merri-bek City Council WSUD streetscape raingarden and tree pit design package (PDF 35Mb)
- Merri-bek City Council WSUD streetscape raingarden and tree pit design package - additional documents (ZIP 38Mb): includes a construction specification template, design basis memorandum template, maintenance checklist template and raingarden construction cost estimate spreadsheet
- Merri-bek City Council WSUD streetscape raingarden and tree pit - AutoCAD drawings (ZIP 80Mb)
- New planting palette extract (PDF 1Mb): updated in 2015 to include more suitable species for bioretention filter systems, a vegetation maintenance report, suggested groupings of species, and a landscape planting plan and plant schedule example
- Merri-bek City Council Passively Irrigated Street Trees Best practice guidelines / tech notes: include what we've learnt and our recommendations. We aim to increase the use of passively irrigated street trees by sharing our findings.
Saving water at home
There are permanent water-saving rules in place that we all must follow. You can find out more about the current water rules on the Melbourne Water website.
There are many reasons everyone should be saving water at home. This includes lower water bills, living more sustainably, and protecting our water supply.
Melbourne Water recommends keeping your water use to 155L per person, per day. To work out your individual water use, look at your latest water bill. You can divide your total household water use by the number of people living in your home to see how much water you use.
Water saving tips
Tips to save water inside your home:
- Reduce your shower time to 4 minutes. This can save thousands of litres of water per person, per year.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving. You can even use a glass of water to rinse your mouth rather than a running tap.
- Buy water efficient appliances and fittings. You can do this by checking the water rating labels on appliances. The more stars a label has the better the water efficiency.
Tips to save water in your garden:
- Put plants in your garden that need similar water levels close together. This makes it easy to check their water levels and to avoid over-watering.
- Set up a windbreak using a lattice screen, hedge or fence near your garden bed. This will protect delicate plants and stop the wind from drying out your soil.
- Choose to plant indigenous and low water plants. You can find more about working with these types of plants on our gardening and food production page.
- Use mulch in your garden beds. A layer of mulch can reduce water evaporation and erosion and keep your soil at a good temperature. It also discourages weeds.
- Install a rainwater tank. If you use the trapped water around your home, you can lower your water bill. This also reduces the amount of rainwater in the stormwater system. You can find out if you need a planning permit to install a rainwater tank by speaking to a planning officer.
- Install a raingarden. These are gardens get rainwater from being under or near downpipes, paved areas or roads. These gardens reduce the amount of stormwater in our stormwater system.