This morning I opened a training session on the use of rain gardens to improve stormwater quality. The training session was hosted at Maroondah City Council and was led by instructors from Clearwater, a not-for-profit program supported by Melbourne Water.
Rain gardens are designed to absorb excess rainwater run-off from buildings and paved areas, such as car parks. Plants within rain gardens include wetland vegetation, which filter run-off and thus improve stormwater quality, as well as providing the garden with a source of water.
Continue reading to view a transcript of the speech given at this training session.
Good morning and welcome to Maroondah City Council.
Clearwater approached Maroondah to host this session being aware that we were in the process of constructing rain gardens at the Council offices and also outside the Karralyka Centre.
This session is very timely, given that these are the first rain gardens to be constructed in Maroondah and are being developed as a demonstration project.
Our waterways are vital not only for community recreation and amenity, but for the habitat and biodiversity they provide for the plants and animals of Maroondah. In Maroondah we are proud of the natural beauty of our surroundings.
We also understand the need to educate the community and industry in how they can contribute to protecting and improving our environment. We are always looking for ways we can improve our processes to achieve this aim.
Maroondah, like most other municipalities, completed a Stormwater Management Plan in 2001. The Stormwater Management Plan outlines the values and threats associated with the waterways in Maroondah as well as a range of actions to reduce stormwater pollution.
As part of the implementation of this plan, and other strategic water plans, we have undertaken a number of education and information programs such as the EPAâ€™s Victorian Stormwater Action Program. This has included audits and education for automotive industries, schools, food retailers and the construction industry.
We have also installed 60 Pit Litter Baskets throughout the municipality; gross pollutant traps at sites along the Mullum Mullum creek and constructed the Narr Maen Wetlands at Narr Maen Reserve, which treats an area of around 100ha.
More recently there has been a significant change in thinking in regard to stormwater management. With a view to using more â€˜at sourceâ€™ treatment measures as well as the more traditional â€˜end of pipeâ€™ solutions.
Last year Council held two workshops for staff covering Water Sensitive Urban Design as a starting point to charting the direction for Council in this area. One of the actions to come out of these workshops was the undertaking of a pilot project like the one now constructed.
For Council this is an early step in such a rapidly growing area. We hope that through sessions such as this and projects we have undertaken we can continue to expand our knowledge and capabilities as well as to encourage others, such as the development industry, to also get involved in water conservation issues.
Thank you for attending this morning and I am sure the session will prove an informative one.