Creek revitalisation program wins top innovation award

Creek revitalisation program wins top innovation award

A collaborative project involving RMIT and Melbourne Water to renew and revitalise a Melbourne creek has been recognised with a national water innovation award.

The five-year Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek project received the Australian Water Association’s prestigious National Program Innovation Award.

Developed by Melbourne Water and key stakeholders including RMIT’s Aquatic Environmental Stress (AQUEST) research group, the project focussed on improving the health of Dandenong Creek in Melbourne’s south-east.

L-R: AQUEST Chief Investigator Professor Vincent Pettigrove, Knox City Council Stormwater Integration Coordinator Caroline Carvalho, and Heath Baker, Sarah Watkins and Rhys Coleman from Melbourne Water.

As well as increasing liveability, reducing storm water pollution from industry, creating habitats for native fish and upgrading the sewer network to control spills, the works included returning sections of the creek that had been underground for many years to open, flowing waterway.

The project has seen measurable on-ground benefits, through the reintroduction of two nationally threatened fish species, and world-leading waterway renewal works.

AQUEST Chief Investigator Professor Vincent Pettigrove said he was delighted to see RMIT acknowledged as a major contributor to the project’s success, in particular the work of Senior Research Fellow Dr Claudette Kellar and Research Assistant Daniel McMahon.

“It is a great example of where sound and innovative science can underpin major improvements in the management of waterways and sewage,” he said.

Revitalisation works at Dandenong Creek in Melbourne's south-east.

AQUEST works with schools, community groups, government and industry partners to support healthy waterways, through the development of innovative approaches to preventing and cleaning up pollution from rivers, creeks and bays.

The collaboration is part of a $5 million Aquatic Pollution Prevention Partnership between RMIT and Melbourne Water to combat pollution in Australia’s waterways and bays.

It is a demonstration of RMIT and Melbourne Water’s broader commitment to working with the community and other agencies to achieve exemplary outcomes in protecting public health and improving waterways around Victoria.

Due to the success of the program, Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek is now transitioning into its second five-year program in 2019, with AQUEST continuing play a key role.

The award presented to Melbourne Water places the project among Australia’s most inspiring and innovative water management programs, research and infrastructure projects, which were announced at the OzWater’19 Gala Dinner this month.

 

Story: Jasmijn van Houten

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