Catchment to Coast (metropolitan Adelaide)
The 'Catchment to Coast focus for water quality improvement across urban Adelaide' was a 5-year project funded through the Australian Government National Landcare Program.
The project facilitated community engagement to improve coastal water quality at catchment, subcatchment and local scale across the Adelaide region.
Building community capacity for water quality improvement was the main strategy for this project, and it involved onground action, signage at specific sites and some monitoring to inform managers of stormwater on how to best reduce sediment, coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and nutrient loads from stormwater in the Adelaide region.
Through 6 sub-projects Catchment to Coast contributed towards improving Adelaide's urban waterways and coastal waters through implementation of strategies 1, 3, 4 and 8 in the Australian Government-funded Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (ACWQIP).
Action at a local level
Focusing initially on infrastructure managers, developers, and local government the EPA provided information on the appropriate scale of action needed to improve water quality in urban waterways and along our coast to key stakeholders and project partners.
The EPA has also, using the information garnered from monitoring and technical knowledge from these groups, provided information to the broader Adelaide community through specific practitioner training, community workshops, urban days and field trips.
In addition, there were regular steering group meetings with members from the Conservation Council SA, RecFish SA, SA Water, Department for Environment and Water, Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges), as well as several local councils within the project area.
Support for community awareness
From left to right: Rain garden model at The Joinery, interpretive signage at Brooker Terrace, and EPA Display at Science Alive 2016.
The EPA promoted awareness of water quality issues by providing informative signage at highly visible locations, principally locations that feature water sensitive urban design (WSUD), such as the rain gardens, provided through subprojects 3 and 5. Information on how to prevent stormwater pollution for homeowners is provided in the EPA information sheet on What householders can do.
In addition, the EPA supported community education work at the Marine Discovery Centre (MDC):
- at their Henley Beach site focusing on Catchment to Coast education through interactive displays and multimedia information,
- by installing signs at locations in Adelaide to highlight what action people can take to improve stormwater and coastal water quality and
- by providing visits to schools with performers doing Catchment to Coast plays such as ‘Down the Drain’ to highlight to students what people can do to improve stormwater and coastal water quality across the Adelaide region.
The MDC also worked with KESAB on citizen science litter monitoring projects so the community could play a role in monitoring and understanding issues impacting on water quality in Adelaide’s urban waterways and coastal waters.
Catchment to Coast helped fund Water Sensitive SA (WSSA), a capacity building program that provides resources to stakeholders across all disciplines within the development and urban water management industries. WSSA provides these professionals access to the latest WSUD information, training and knowledge on how to apply it properly, providing the support they need to achieve the best water sensitive urban design (WSUD) outcomes.
The EPA will continue to support WSSA in providing information, training and linking to rain garden information gathered through Catchment to Coast. The WSSA website has an interactive map of all WSUD sites across South Australia and case study information sheets for all the raingarden projects funded through Catchment to Coast.
WSSA Training (from left to right) streetscale rain garden design, WSUD maintenance and permeable paving
Developing water sensitive urban design (WSUD) demonstration sites
Left to right: Randolf Avenue in Fullarton, Rankine Road in Torrensville and Wright Street Hotel in Adelaide.
In the initial years of Catchment to Coast the EPA partnered with the City of Unley, Adelaide City Council and the City of West Torrens, to build several demonstration site rain gardens:
- The City of Unley constructed 10 large bio-filtration rain gardens at Randolph Avenue, Fullarton taking stormwater from the road and nearby housing areas, treating it through the rain gardens, before returning it to the stormwater system.
- Adelaide City Council constructed a total of 4 small street-scale rain gardens, 2 in front of Wright Street and 2 in front of Gilbert Street Hotel to treat stormwater coming off the street.
- The City of West Torrens built over 30 rain gardens at several project sites including Rankine Road in Mile End, Brooker Terrace in Richmond and Gardiner Street in Camden Park.
All 3 projects are included in case studies and an interactive map, with the City of West Torrens providing their case studies through an interactive trail.
Working with the Kaurna people to promote cultural connections
Left to right: Living Kaurna Cultural Centre Open Day 2016 and EPA Kaurna Cultural Awareness Training 2018.
The EPA employed an Aboriginal Engagement Officer to involve the Kaurna people of the Adelaide region in developing onground projects at culturally significant sites. The officer was based at the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre for much of the project. Rain gardens have been installed with the City of Salisbury at the Watershed Function Centre/Greenfields Wetlands site and the City of Charles Sturt at Tennyson Dunes northern car park.
Advice on the cultural significance of sites was provided when looking at content for interpretive signage for all our WSUD sites, and also when developing culturally relevant signage and connecting with the Kaurna community for input at other local government cultural sites. Examples are City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters for Felixstow Reserve and with Adelaide City Council for Peppermint Park/Wita Wirra (Park 18) and Pelzer Park/Pityarilla (Park 19) in the southern parklands.
The Kaurna engagement work was promoted at events such as National Sorry Day in Victoria Square, Living Kaurna Cultural Centre open days and Kaurna Cultural Awareness training for Catchment to Coast project partners.
Rain Garden 500
Funded by Rain Garden 500 (left to right): Halmon Avenue in Everard Park, RAA Pymbrah Street carpark in Mile End and Flagstaff Hill R-7 School
Rain Garden 500 was a 3-year grant program where local councils, community groups, schools, sports clubs, or a group of motivated individuals could apply for funding to build a rain garden in the Adelaide region.
This was especially important to increasing awareness of WSUD within the community, and building knowledge and capacity for local government to continue to incorporate WSUD elements into public spaces and streetscapes.
Collectively rain gardens and other stormwater improvement features such as wetlands installed in catchments will contribute towards less stormwater going out to sea and improved water quality in urban waterways and Adelaide’s coastal waters. This would reduce pollution, and contribute to improving seagrass health benefiting our marine environment and keeping our beach water cleaner.
The grant helped to develop 23 projects including 2 at schools and 2 at businesses. With the projects carried out through the demonstration sites and Kaurna projects, Catchment to Coast funded 31 rain garden projects across 10 council areas. Some projects were as small as a streetscale garden, taking up one carspace, while others established multiple gardens along a whole street or captured enough stormwater for a whole greenspace. Case studies for all the raingarden projects and advice on WSUD can be accessed through the Water Sensitive SA website.
What is a rain garden?
A rain garden is a constructed garden designed to capture stormwater from roads, carparks, driveways, roofs and other hard surfaces. Stormwater is retained in the rain garden through the design and vegetation, slowly filtering through the soil layer to the drainage at the base. Stormwater flows are diverted and pollutants are removed through the processes of settlement (sedimentation) binding with components in the filter media and by the action of specially selected plants and the associated microbial community.
Monitoring across catchments and subcatchments in Adelaide
The aim of this subproject was to have better informed stormwater management in the future through monitoring of stormwater across different seasons and sites to fill in knowledge gaps on runoff info to Adelaide’s coastal waters.
Other projects included:
- Gap monitoring of sediment from Christies Creek and Torrens River
- Water quality monitoring of drains with University of SA – An investigation into the quality of residential stormwater runoff based on monitoring of the Frederick Street catchment, Glengowrie
- Conceptual modelling workshop report for Adelaide coastal waters, 23 October 2014
- Comparison of data from stormwater audit 2013 and 2014, with 2013 report completed for ACWS
- Final reports for Australian Government funded ‘Catchment to Coast’ projects across the Adelaide region
- Monitoring changes in seagrass health in the Gulf St Vincent along the Adelaide coast using information collected in the production of the Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reports (AECRs).
Funding and partnership acknowledgements
The Catchment to Coast was jointly funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Program with $2 million over 5 years, partnering with the EPA and other key groups such as Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, and numerous local governments and community groups.
The rain garden project partners for Catchment to Coast project activities and promotions included:
- Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM
- Adelaide City Council
- Alberton Primary School
- Australian Government National Landcare Program
- City of Charles Sturt
- City of Holdfast Bay
- City of Marion
- City of Mitcham
- City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
- City of Onkaparinga
- City of Port Adelaide Enfield
- City of Salisbury
- City of Unley
- City of West Torrens
- Coast Protection Board
- Conservation Council of SA
- Department for Environment and Water (formerly Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources)
- Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
- Department of Treasury and Finance
- Flagstaff Hill R7 School
- Kaurna Elders and Kaurna people of Adelaide region
- LCS Landscapes
- Light Regional Council
- Living Kaurna Cultural Centre
- Marine Discovery Centre – Star of the Sea School
- RAW Recruitment and Services (formerly ART Services)
- RecFish SA
- Royal Automobile Association (RAA)
- SA Water
- Science to Manage Uncertainty (SMU)
- Tennyson Dune Care Group
- University of South Australia
- Water Data Services
- Water Sensitive SA
The EPA wishes to thank everyone who has been involved in the delivery of the Catchment to Coast rain garden work over the 5 years of the project. There were many others beyond the groups listed above who attended events, promotions, training and were interested in the project.