Healthy Waterways increase funding from ACT Govt

ACT Government increases funding for Healthy Waterways

The ACT Government has provided a significant funding boost to the ACT Healthy Waterways program, committing an additional $14 million to June 2023 to improve the health of waterways across the Territory and provide greater amenities for Canberrans.

This brings the program’s total value to $20.5 million since June 2021.

“We all love the beautiful lakes, rivers and wetlands of our bush capital and want to keep them healthy,” Minister for Water Shane Rattenbury said.

“This additional investment in the ACT Healthy Waterways program will help care for our waterways. It will keep pollutants from entering stormwater and reduce nutrient loads through infrastructure like wetlands. They will also run education programs and support vital research to understand pollution sources better.

The budget provided for the construction of 11 new water quality assets across Belconnen and Tuggeranong. The new assets will include innovative designs like floating wetlands that remove pollution and expand the infrastructure options available to ACT water managers to improve water quality. This is in addition to three assets already built since the second stage began in June last year.

“The key focus areas for the next stage of the Healthy Waterways program will be improving the health of catchments and waterways. They supply Lake Tuggeranong to help reduce algal blooms. This will prevent pollutants from entering water bodies through infrastructure, research and education campaigns. They will expand on community-based programs like The Leaf Collective.

Leaf Collective supporting healthy waterways

Rattenbury praised the activities of The Leaf Collective. The community-based program has helped prevent leaves and grass clippings from polluting stormwater. It will expand across Canberra and will continue until June 2023.

The government will also engage with public and private landowners to reduce fertiliser use in catchment areas.

“The continuation of the Healthy Waterways program will deliver positive outcomes for the environment and community wellbeing. It is part of our plan for a sustainable, resilient and liveable Canberra. I look forward to seeing the new water quality assets built as part of this program, helping to improve waterway health and provide greater amenity for Canberrans.”

The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Paddy Nixon was thrilled to be continuing the research with the ACT Government, saying “The University of Canberra and the ACT Government have worked closely over the last five years to better manage water in Canberra, including work on improved stormwater management in urban developments and management of the water quality in Lake Tuggeranong.”

Up to $1.5 million for a research agreement between the ACT Government and the University of Canberra to investigate sources of water pollutants in the lake and potential treatments.

“We are looking forward to expanding this collaboration to help safeguard waterway health for the Canberra community. This is essential as our city moves into a future likely to be dominated by more climatic extremes,” Nixon added.

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