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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 5 August 2021) . . Page.. 2339 ..


the lake in wet years like last summer. We need to reduce inputs of pollution from suburbs that drain into Lake Burley Griffin and be careful that any future developments in the catchment do not tip the lake towards more regular episodes of poor water quality and blue-green algal blooms.

What steps can we take to further improve water quality? The ACT government continues to invest in innovative ways to manage water quality problems. The ACT’s first large-scale floating wetland has just been deployed in the Village Creek bay of Lake Tuggeranong. The aim of this wetland, together with modifications to the gross pollutant trap just upstream, is to discourage blue-green algal growth in the bay, where it might spread into the broader lake. This wetland is undergoing a two-year trial after which it will either be left in place or relocated to a stormwater pond. I had the privilege of inspecting this great industry-supported innovation when I launched the floating wetland in early March this year.

This autumn ACT NRM and Healthy Waterways joined forces to trial a new H2OK public education program in five suburbs across Canberra. The program focused on preventing autumn leaves from entering drains. Nutrients rapidly leach out of leaves on the ground, so leaves that accumulate in roadside drains contribute to the nutrient pollution in stormwater. The H2OK program encouraged householders to keep drains adjacent to their blocks clear of leaves. The results of this trial are now being evaluated by Griffith University.

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate has begun planning for a new program of work—stage 2 of Healthy Waterways. In stage 1, the focus of infrastructure was on water quality assets that filter pollutants from stormwater. But, as we have just heard, water research and monitoring suggest that this approach alone is not going to solve the problem. Therefore, in stage 2 the Healthy Waterways team is exploring new ways to prevent stormwater pollution from occurring in the first place. Pollution is generated in urban areas because runoff is cut off from catchment soils and vegetation, which act to cleanse it before it makes its way into waterways. The team are investigating infrastructure to make use of green corridors and spaces within our catchments to cleanse stormwater. They are also looking into ways to store and slowly release stormwater so that it does not overload the water quality assets in the system. Plans are being drawn up in parts of the Tuggeranong catchment and in selected locations across Canberra, including in the Yerrabi Pond catchment.

It is anticipated that stage 2 of Healthy Waterways will rely on much more than just infrastructure to improve water quality. An extensive public education campaign is planned that will focus on what households can do to prevent leaves and grass from entering drains, building on lessons from the trial this past autumn.

EPSDD will also work with the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate to understand life cycle costs of assets and how to better manage green spaces, and continue its work with the Suburban Land Agency to reduce the amount of pollution escaping from new suburbs under development.


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