Over 7,000 native Australian plants are thriving at SA Water’s wastewater pump station in Murray Bridge, turning into a cultural space for the community to enjoy.
Named ‘Nankeri tapatawangk’ – the Ngarrindjeri name meaning ‘place of good water’ – the landscaping and artwork design of the pump station was brought to life together with Aboriginal architect and visual artist Paul Herzich.
The project was part of SA Water’s $52 million dollar upgrade to the local wastewater network, which included the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility.
The Jervois Road site, which connects to the region’s Murray-Coorong Trail, leads to two stormwater basins which, as designed, are successfully filling with rainwater runoff from the pump station roof, providing irrigation support to lush wetland vegetation.
Headlined by two large mosaic-covered sculptures of ‘Kungari nga:tadi’ – black swan eggs – the site includes an interpretive walking trail around the pump station that depicts several important water sites within the Ngarrindjeri Country area.
SA Water Vegetation Specialist, Shaun Kennedy, said the community space has really taken shape since planting at the two-hectare site took place in 2020.
“Countless shrubs and groundcover plants are filling out the area, and taller vegetation has grown immensely,” Mr Kennedy said.
“Strategically placed native grasses have created an almost rhythmic pattern in between the raised garden beds that also provides a visual representation of the outstretched features of a bird’s wing.
“Not only can this native grass meadow be easily maintained, but it also provides an attractive space for insects and birds, reminiscent of the Mallee-topped sand dunes still in the region today,” Mr Kennedy said.
SA Water hopes the flourishing native species will also demonstrate the plants can be a great choice for backyard gardeners to consider for their own homes.
For further shaping of certain species, SA Water is working with the Rural City of Murray Bridge, to further enhance the appearance of the space for the community.
There are 40 Murray Bridge native plants SA Water chose for the site such as River Mint, Mallee Wattle, Flagrant Saltbush and Weaver’s Sedge, which are well suited to the normally hot and dry conditions experienced in the area.