An Australian utility company has won the Award for Excellence in Integrated Stormwater Design at the International Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference.

Sydney Water won the award for their project, The Cooks River Naturalisation project. The award recognises the best practice and excellence in sustainable management of stormwater.

Bankstown Council was the joint winner for their project “Getting our Ducks in a row- taking it from the top of the catchment”, which used water sensitive urban design to reduce pollution and improve liveability on Duck River.

Sydney Water Managing Director, Kevin Young, said that “the award really is a testament to the great things that the team at Sydney Water has achieved for the benefit of our community and the environment.”

The naturalisation project involved replacing steep, deteriorated concrete panels constructed in the 1940s with more gently sloped river banks, stabilised with sandstone, as well as native plants, along 1.1kms of the Cooks River. In total, around $9 million was invested in the area.

Sydney Water Manager, Lands & Waterways, Dan Cunningham, said that “all the sandstone used in the naturalisation was salvaged from construction sites in Sydney and Sydney Water has planted over 100,000 local native plants in three sites at Belfield, Campsie and Canterbury.

“Included in the project are new pathways, seating, interpretive signage and viewing areas, which now allows the community to reconnect with a more natural river.

“The Cooks River project has improved the liveability of the foreshore area by creating attractive, healthy places that the local community can be proud of and enjoy.

“The naturalisation has also provided new habitat for birds and aquatic life.

“The Cooks River community has been highly supportive of the restoration of the river which over time had become highly modified and degraded due to a long history of industrial and urban development”, said Mr Cunningham.

Sydney Water is continuing to work with local councils and the Cooks River Alliance to improve the health of the river. This work includes developing a Waterway Improvement Plan to reduce pollution entering the river and restoration works on Alexandra Canal near Tempe Reserve.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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