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A Melbourne Water partnership that helped home owners reduce pollution and erosion caused by stormwater has claimed the Excellence in Policy or Education category at the 2014 Stormwater Victoria Awards for Excellence.

The downpipe diversion trial, a partnership between Melbourne Water, the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, and Balcombe Estuary Rehabilitation Group (BERG), encouraged home owners to divert stormwater with a type of rain garden, called a downpipe diverter. The diverter reduces the amount of stormwater entering Balcombe Estuary and Port Phillip Bay while watering home gardens.

Melbourne Water’s Manager of Stormwater Services, Keysha Milenkovic, said the ultimate aim of the trial was to reduce pollution and erosion in Balcombe Estuary.

“This award recognises the committed role Melbourne Water, Mornington Peninsula and BERG play in empowering the community to improve the health of their local waterway,” said Ms Milenkovic.

“Our community surveys tell us that Melburnians highly value healthy rivers and creeks for recreation, social outings and amenity, and initiatives such as the downpipe diversion trial are an effective way for people to play their part in improving the condition of waterways,” she added.

The Victorian award means the downpipe trial is in the running for the same category at next month’s Stormwater Australia national awards in Adelaide.

Melbourne Water was also honoured to be a partner in three other projects that received awards at the ceremony:

• Excellence in Asset Management: Street scale water sensitive urban design maintenance review (City of Port Phillip, E2DeisgnLab, Melbourne Water)

• Excellence in Infrastructure: Charles Mutton Reserve stormwater harvesting system (Moreland City Council, Melbourne Water, Spiire Australia, Entracon Pty Ltd)

• Excellence in Strategic or Master Planning: Black Forest Road catchment integrated water management strategy (Melbourne Water, City West Water, E2DesignLab)

Ms Milenkovic said Melbourne Water’s Living Rivers program had supported the projects that won the infrastructure and asset management categories.

“Living Rivers offers the 38 councils in our operating area funding, expertise and guidance to build understanding, skills and commitment for managing stormwater within an integrated water management approach,” Ms Milenkovic said.

“This program is a great example of the Victorian Government’s Right Water campaign in action, encouraging people to make better use of alternative water sources and using the right water for the job.”

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