Sydney Water’s Johnstons Creek Naturalisation project was named the winner of the Excellence in Asset Management award at the Stormwater Australia National Awards for Excellence. 

The project involves the naturalisation and stabilisation of 610m of the Johnstons Creek stormwater channel between Rozelle Bay and The Crescent in Annandale, located in Sydney’s Inner West. 

Sydney Water’s revitalisation included planting tens of thousands of local native plants and the installation of sandstone blocks. 

This refurbishment has extended this vital asset’s life to more than 150 years, while injecting ecological and aesthetic value into the Annandale site and surrounding area. 

Sydney Water Senior Project Manager, Jordan Mulhearn, said it’s a great example of Sydney Water’s commitment to improving liveability and waterway health across Sydney. 

“This project has transformed this area into a vibrant waterway environment and a beautiful space for the community to enjoy, while also upgrading this important asset,” Mr Mulhearn said.

This stormwater channel, which was concrete lined in the 1890s, needed renewal due to deteriorating banks. Given the corrosive saline tidal environment, Sydney Water decided to revitalise the area by removing the old concrete walls and replacing them with native plants, trees and rocks. 

The Johnstons Creek Precinct is an integral recreational open space in the City of Sydney Local Government Area, and Johnstons Creek runs through the middle of these highly valued parklands. 

The area is an essential recreational space, with the community using it for outdoor sports, informal recreation, festivals, and events. 

Naturalising Johnstons Creek involved: 

  • Removing the concrete-lined base and banks and recycling 5,800t of concrete 
  • Replacing concrete banks with large sandstone and tens of thousands of local, native plants while stabilising rock banks
  • Planting 2,730m3 of endangered saltmarsh 
  • Widening the channel in parts, including expanding the salt marsh around the creek and creating ecological intertidal rock pools
  • Building new paths, lookout areas and a boardwalk for the community to enjoy the naturalised waterway environs, along with new seatings and signs
  • Minor reshaping of the banks to reduce bank slope and increase safety 
  • Creation of a unique in-stream sandstone invert in the channel base to provide in-stream aquatic habitat for diverse native marine species

Sydney Water has partnered with Diona and Thompson Berrill Landscape Design on this award-winning project.

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