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This theme reports on Council’s strategic planning for, and implementation of initiatives to encourage, more sustainable use of water, addressing water conservation and recycling, stormwater quality management and flooding.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Water security and scarcity are ongoing risks as a result of climate change. Recent droughts and changing rainfall patterns have highlighted the necessity for water conservation. Land use activities have impacted natural riparian waterways in the LGA that drain to the harbour. Water flowing over impervious urban surfaces is contaminated by pollutants from industry, traffic, and residences, which flow into Sydney Harbour, resulting in the degradation of water quality and harbour ecosystems.

Council has undertaken a number of initiatives in 2012-13 to improve surface runoff water quality in the LGA including the provision of gross pollutant traps, rain gardens and wetlands remediation. Business engagement around water use, via Leichhardt’s Business SMART program, has been well received.

Leichhardt Council corporate and community potable water usage per annum increased in 2012-13 from the prior year and can be attributed to hot and dry conditions increasing irrigation demand and evaporation. Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre (LPAC) accounts for approximately 50% of total corporate water usage. A comprehensive water audit and update to the 2006 Leichhardt Water Savings Action Plan has been carried out with new actions to reduce corporate water consumption. The report identifies 115kL/day of potential savings, including 50kL/day savings from a major replacement of the filter at LPAC.  

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IMPLEMENTATION

STRATEGIC PLANNING ACTIONS 2012-2013
New DCP & LEP 2013 – Water Sensitive Urban Design Provisions

Council promotes Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) as a way to lessen the impacts of development on the water cycle. The draft DCP 2013 provides detailed controls for all types of development for water and hazard management including flooding. Part E of the DCP – Water – addresses the need to use water more efficiently due to the limitations on potable water supply systems and the increasing urban population and outlines controls to effectively conserve and manage this precious community resource. The new DCP and LEP were on public exhibition until 31 July 2013.

Water Savings Action Plan (WSAP) 2012

In 2006, Leichhardt Council prepared a Water Savings Action Plan (WSAP) required under the Energy Administration Amendment (Water and Energy Savings) Act 2005. The purpose of the 2006 Plan was to investigate water used by Council operations and identify measures that would reduce water use. In June 2012, an “update report” was prepared in order to identify past (since the 2006 Plan) and future water savings from the top ten water using Council sites in the Leichhardt LGA.

As a result of the updated water savings actions (identified in WSAP 2012), a further 114.9kL/day could be saved through leak repair, and reducing irrigation rates to best practice benchmark levels. This figure includes 50kL/day savings from a proposed major replacement of the filter at Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre. Most of the savings identified have simple payback periods of less than one year and are now being considered for budget and implementation.

Draft Stormwater Engineering Code

The draft Stormwater Engineering Code aims to standardise and guide requirements for stormwater management for future developments to enhance water saving, control and re-use outcomes. The Code was developed further in 2012-13.

Sydney Harbour Catchment Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP)

seahorse-soeThe Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) is leading a project to develop a Sydney Harbour Catchment Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP). The development of the Plan will involve several steps over the next 3 years and will require partnership support from the local councils and government agencies which manage land draining into Sydney Harbour. The WQIP has applications to the development of planning instruments (e.g. LEPs, DCPs), actioning of management plans (e.g., Section 94 Plans, Stormwater and Coastal Zone Management Plans) and reporting for other strategic documents (e.g. Sustainability Plans, Community Plans).

Sydney Coastal Council Group Participation (SCCG)

The SCCG was established in 1989 to promote co-ordination between Member Councils on environmental issues relating to the sustainable management of the urban coastal environment. The Group consists of 15 Councils adjacent to Sydney marine and estuarine environments and associated waterways. Leichhardt Council is an active participant in the SCCG, attending technical committee meetings, obtaining advice on coastal ecosystems management and the risks of flooding associated with climate-change induced sea-level rise.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ACTIONS 2012-2013
Household Engagement & Education

Residential water use in the Leichhardt LGA remains lower than the Sydney average. However, in 2011/12, approximately 77% of total water consumption was residential, reflecting the importance of water-savings initiatives that assist households to reduce their water consumption.

Sydney Water Residential Programmes:

Sydney Water’s terminated programs over the past two years include the “Every Drop Counts” program in schools, the rainwater tank rebate and water-saving kits. Large water-recycling schemes will be replaced by smaller, local projects. Programs still in place include subsidised WaterFix and toilet replacement services for customers experiencing financial hardship.

Leichhardt Business SMART Program:

business-smart-soeLeichhardt Business SMART is a program open to businesses in the Leichhardt local government area. SMART is aimed at assisting businesses to improve their environmental performance. The SMART program has been successful in identifying opportunities for over 715,000L of business water savings per year in 2012-2013.

STORMWATER QUALITY & MANAGEMENT ACTIONS 2012-2013
Gross Pollutant Trap Installations 2012-2013

Work commenced on a new gross pollutant trap (GPT) at Birchgrove Oval, for completion in 2013-14.

Stormwater Harvesting

Work has commenced on stormwater harvesting at Glover Street playing fields where stormwater is naturally filtered and gravity-fed to tanks for irrigation re-use and designs commenced for a stormwater harvesting system at Balmain Road sports field, Callan Park, for construction in late 2013.

Constructed Wetland Project

wetland-soeIn 2012, Council commissioned a study to explore options for the conversion of the sedimentation basin at Blackmore Oval into a constructed wetland. The Study included a detailed ecological assessment to gain a better understanding of the existing ecological condition of the basin. The assessment concluded that the basin is currently performing as a wetland and is supporting a healthy population of aquatic organisms. In 2012-13, design work commenced on retrofitting the basin into a constructed wetland and a grant was obtained for construction in 2013-14.

Rain Gardens

The proposed rain gardens, associated with traffic calming measures at new pedestrian crossings, at the corner of Piper and Annandale Roads, Annandale, and in Arguimbau Street, Annandale, were designed. Construction is anticipated 2013-14.

Dog-owners Education Program

Council promoted responsible dog ownership at numerous Council events. Much of this focus has been directed at children via information on take-home activity sheets.

FLOOD MITIGATION & MANAGEMENT ACTIONS 2012-2013
Flood Risk Management Study & Plan

The flood risk management study and plan process commenced in 2012-13. The study and plan aim to develop flood management strategies and actions for the Leichhardt LGA.  Find out more at the Leichhardt Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan website.