Coronavirus update 13 March 2020

COVID-19: See the latest information about support services, Council facilities and closures.

We understand the need to manage the water cycle – water consumption, rainwater, stormwater, waste water and waterways – in a sustainable way if we are to keep our city green, waterways clean and adapt to weather extremes.

Waterway example

Yarra River, Kew

Our strategy and vision

Council adopted its Integrated Water Management Strategy 2014–24 in May 2014.

The strategy's vision is for '... a healthy, green and resilient city ... where a diversity of water sources is available so that the right quality of water is available when and where it is required ... contributing to healthier waterways and open spaces for greater community wellbeing'.

Objectives and targets

The strategy has 4 key objectives to achieve this vision:

  1. Minimising the use of mains drinking water.
  2. Increasing local water harvesting and ‘fit-for-purpose’ reuse.
  3. Removing pollutants contaminating our stormwater before it enters our waterways and Port Phillip Bay.
  4. Supporting local flood management activities to better protect properties from flooding while also protecting the environment, amenity and function of Council assets.

Targets have been adopted for the first three objectives, which help drive action and provide measures for annual monitoring and reporting on progress over time.

Objective Council target by 2024 Community aspiration by 2024
Minimise use of drinking water Reduce drinking water (mains) use by 20 per cent compared to 2011-12 levels Reduce resident drinking water (mains) use down to 153 litres per person per day
Increase local water harvesting and reuse Harvest an additional 30 mega litres of stormwater per year for irrigation of public open space 30 per cent of single dwellings install a rainwater tank by 2024. Half of these households connect their rainwater tank to internal uses, such as toilet and laundry.
Remove pollutants from stormwater run-off
  • Remove 182 tonnes of total suspended solids per year
  • Remove 360kg of total phosphorus per year
  • Remove 3000kg of total nitrogen per year

Projects and initiatives

Our activities are guided by the Integrated Water Management Strategy Implementation Plan 2017-19. Key initiatives include:

  • Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD): learn about existing rain-gardens and wetlands across our city that are treating stormwater to remove pollutants.
  • Chandler Park Wetlands: wetland and landscaping design at Chandler Park in Kew will remove pollution from stormwater flowing from the catchment before it enters the Yarra River.
  • Glenferrie Water Management Plan: this project involves harvesting water from a stormwater drain in Hawthorn, treating it by bio-filtration through an innovative vegetated rain-garden and storing it in an underground tank where it will be used for watering nearby open space.
  • Yarra Riverkeepers partnership: working with Yarra Riverkeepers to promote community understanding and care for our waterways.
  • Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRC-WSC): we are one of 29 councils in the CRC's local government consortia, giving us access to emerging research, training programs and leadership in integrated water management.
  • Showerhead exchange: bring in your old showerhead and your latest water bill to our Camberwell office and swap it for your free, water-efficient showerhead.
  • Gordon Barnard Reserve rainwater and stormwater harvesting plan: our community consultation on the draft plan for Gordon Barnard Reserve closed on Friday 2 November.

Monitoring and reporting

To monitor our progress, we regularly collect and analyse data and information that relates to a number of performance indicators.

Council progress indicators

Proposed progress indicators Proposed monitoring method
Council mains water use Annual inventory of Council's potable (mains) water use, analysed by facility type and site. High water using facilities are the focus of sub-metering and periodic monitoring.
Council use of alternative water sources:
  1. Capacity of rainwater tanks at Council facilities
  2. Capacity of stormwater storage for reuse
  3. ML used per annum
  4. Usage as percentage of annual irrigation demand

Commence data gathering during 2013–14 and establish baseline by 2014–15 for annual monitoring thereafter.

Note: the methodology for tracking ML/annum use will be determined as part of establishing the baseline.

Volume of annual pollutant removal via installed WSUD infrastructure Modelled baseline (from 2011) plus annual additional pollution removed based on installed WSUD infrastructure (using Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation (MUSIC) modelling).

The latest Council mains water consumption information from Yarra Valley Water and 2024 target is shown below. Carted recycled water refers to recycled water purchased from other sources such as the Brushy Creek treatment plant in Chirnside Park.

Community progress indicators

Proposed progress indicators Monitoring
Residential potable (mains) water use Annual calculation of average residential use (per person, per day) based on data from Yarra Valley Water.
Percentage of single dwellings with a rainwater tank installed. Proportion of these households with tanks plumbed for internal uses. Monitor via data from Yarra Valley Water derived from Victorian Rainwater Tank Rebate (Living Victoria Water Rebate Program or equivalent).

The latest community water use information from Yarra Valley Water is shown below. The community aspiration of 153 litres per person per day by 2024 is shown in this figure. This equates to an 8 per cent reduction from 2011-12 levels.

For more information, contact us on 9278 4011 or email Environment.

Useful resources

Yarra Valley Water has information from your water retailer about saving water and understanding the water and sewerage infrastructure around your home.

Melbourne Water has information on water sensitive urban design, raingardens, stormwater harvesting, flood management, river health and waterway protection.

How useful was this information?