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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4483 ..


I turn to another initiative on water efficiency: the urban wetlands. Programs that aim to encourage water efficient behaviours in Canberrans have been complemented by the government’s investment in our built environment. The Canberra integrated urban waterways project is a four-year program, carried out in partnership with the commonwealth, to reduce consumption of potable water by up to three gigalitres per annum through the increased use of stormwater for irrigation purposes.

This is being achieved by retrofitting existing stormwater infrastructure to better utilise stormwater for irrigation. It involves the replacement of concrete storage and piping with more natural wetlands and natural water channels. Some of the uses for this water will be on sportsgrounds, local parks, ovals and open spaces. The scope for the use of stormwater is significant, with the ACT currently home to more than 250 hectares of irrigated and fully maintained sportsground.

Two of the newest wetlands that are part of this program are in Gungahlin and the Molonglo Valley. These two sites received funding of $11.5 million in the most recent ACT budget. The 2009-10 budget has already provided investment of $13.9 million for the construction of wetlands in Dickson and Lyneham. This work is now well underway. The investment of more than $25 million will significantly reduce potable water consumption in new and established suburbs.

The government has also implemented the “where will we play?” initiative. The urban waterways project supports this initiative, which ensures that by 2013, no outdoor sporting facility in the ACT will solely rely on the drinking water supply for irrigation. There is further support for this in the recent budget, through an investment of $300,000 for initiatives to help reduce reliance on potable water at the Murrumbidgee Country Club and at the Yowani Country Club. The funding will allow the Murrumbidgee club to build a pipeline from the Murrumbidgee River and the associated pumping station. It will also allow Yowani to construct a pipe and dam to harvest stormwater from Sullivans Creek to help water their golf course and bowling greens.

As I mentioned earlier, the government does not believe now is the time to become complacent when it comes to securing our water supplies. The recent rains have afforded us some breathing space, but we must still push ahead with water security measures and strategies. Much of this work has had to be tailored around existing infrastructure but with new developments and projects we are able to get this right at the very beginning.

Nowhere is this more evident than the Molonglo Valley development. The Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water is working with ACTPLA to implement a range of sustainable measures in Molonglo. Chief amongst these is the use of water, and the development has the target of a 40 per cent or more reduction in water use. I have already mentioned one of the ways that this will be achieved, with the construction of the urban wetland project. More generally, planning is allowing for the maximum re-use of water wherever possible.

These are some of the strategies, investments and programs that make ongoing conservation of water supplies a priority for the Labor government. We are currently


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