The City of Greater Geelong is characterised by its coastal foreshores, natural waterways and wetlands including many that are recognised under international treaties such as Ramsar. Stormwater flows are identified as a primary source of non-point water pollutants, and future urban growth threaten these natural ecosystems. Urbanisation has other impacts including increased flood risk and urban heat island impacts that can adversely affect human health and well-being.
We are a responsible authority with obligations under the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) to ensure that planning of new developments meets requirements for stormwater management set out in the policy, and that stormwater runoff is improved in existing areas where possible.
We have a plan in place to maintain and improve the health of waterways, wetlands and bays.
We expect to not only work towards improving stormwater management but provide leadership to the community through our actions and the planning process.
Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is an approach to designing our towns and cities so they are ‘water sensitive’, resilient, liveable and sustainable. A water sensitive city manages urban stormwater runoff to mitigate its impacts on natural waterways, wetlands and bays.
We already own and manage many WSUD assets including gross pollutant traps, wetlands and bioretention systems that treat stormwater to:
- remove pollutants
- control flows to protect waterways
- reduce flood impacts
- provide fit for purpose water for irrigation and
- contribute to biodiversity and reduced urban heat island effects.
Many of these assets are built by land developers as part of subdivision works and handed over to the City, and some have been constructed by Council in conjunction with grant programs. The total value of these assets managed by CoGG is currently estimated at over $35 million (Early 2018).
It is recognised significant maintenance resource is required so that these assets will continue to function effectively and their potential benefits are realised. Investment in pro-active maintenance provides doubled returns through both improved performance and savings in renewal costs. We plan to invest in maintaining these assets is a systematic and cost-effective manner.
We are experiencing significant growth and there is a need for WSUD within future urban development to protect waterways and wetlands including:
- Barwon River
- Lake Connewarre
- Hovell’s Creek and
- Limeburners Bay.
New developments will result in the construction of many new WSUD assets that Council will inherit and manage for the community. The City plans to continually improve its management processes to provide clear guidance for developers and careful due diligence on inherited assets to protect the community’s interests. These will provide a streamlined approach to facilitate development in accordance with water sensitive urban design principles and ensure the community receives assets in good working order that continue to provide benefits for many years.
We are also embarking on a number of visionary projects to revitalise the central business district of Geelong and introduce trees and vegetation to provide a more vibrant, liveable and healthy space. These projects will incorporate WSUD approaches that direct stormwater through planted areas for stormwater treatment and passive irrigation resulting in improvements for both the environment and human health.
We will also explore stormwater treatment opportunities throughout priority catchments, such as stormwater treatment wetlands or biofiltration systems within parks and/or near waterways, streetscape opportunities and stormwater harvesting and implement those where the greatest progress can be made towards protecting its high value waterways, wetlands and bays. As a result, we have completed our Priority Stormwater Projects Masterplan, which identifies the opportunities throughout CoGG in a transparent and systematic manner. This process included a variety of stakeholder and GIS inputs, and reviewed potential costs and benefits of potential installations at each site, as well as assessments of amenity and environmental impacts resulting in a list of the top 5 potential opportunities which can be viewed in the full document.