Catchments

Catchment, Creeks and Wetlands

Catchments are the area of land from which rainwater drains into a common point such as a reservoir, pond, lake, river or creek.

The water may drain or flow from the surface of the land (surface run-off) or from water that flows between soil and rock beneath the earth's surface (groundwater). In urban areas such as Fairfield, the majority of the rainwater is collected by gutters and pipes and then flows through stormwater drains into the stormwater system.

Creeks in the City flow into the Georges River and Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchments along a length of 80km in eight major creek lines. Creek corridors are comprised of the native vegetation that grows from the water's edge on to the land and are important for native animals.

Wetlands are an area of land where the soil is very wet and the land is permanently or seasonally covered by water. Wetland habitat is part land, part water. Wetlands support a range of vegetation particular to wetlands and provide food and shelter to many kinds of wildlife. They also help in improving water quality by acting like a stormwater "filter".

The impact of development in the past 50 years has resulted in severe degradation of the natural habitat and water quality in these creeks and wetlands that feed into the City's three catchments:

The Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment to the west fed by the South Creek Sub-Catchment consisting of South Creek, Eastern Creek and Ropes Creek and the Georges River Catchment to the south and east fed by the sub-catchments of Prospect Creek and Cabramatta Creek.

Since 2011 the Georges River Combined Councils Committee (GRCCC) has embarked on the development of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (GRCZMP) for the Georges River.

Council's Creek Care Program encompasses creek cleaning, re-vegetation, weed control and bush regeneration of more than 60 different sites across the City, including along our riparian corridors and wetlands, parks and reserves. More than 100 tonnes of litter is removed every year from the suite of stormwater quality improvement devices located throughout the City. The program involves professional bush regenerators, community group volunteers, school students, and Council staff.

The long-term aims of the Creek Care Program are to create a beautiful creek environment that the community enjoys, healthy and well maintained creeks to improve the liveability of the City, to protect and promote local biodiversity and ecosystems through restoration work to create corridors of "green and blue" for wildlife connections, and to balance re-vegetation with flooding and water quality.

A program has been developed with three phases of restoration: primary (large, woody weeds), secondary (smaller herbaceous weeds) or maintenance. The most intensive and costly work is done on the primary sites to get the area established. Once sites are established they move to secondary and finally to maintenance areas that require minimal care/cost.

Stormwater and Water Quality

Stormwater is rainwater that flows off land.

When it rains, some stormwater is collected from your roof, driveways or paved and landscaped areas. It flows over land, or through the pipes and drains, to the existing public stormwater system and into our creeks.

Council's Stormwater Levy allows an additional $1.2 million a year to be dedicated to significant stormwater-related environmental projects. Funds spent each year are reported in Council’s annual report, separately from the rest of Council’s budget. The Local Government Act provides councils with the ability to implement a program of major improvements to stormwater management, funded by a Stormwater Levy.

Funds are allocated to urgent work to improve the quality and/or quantity of water in our local creeks and help stop buildings being flooded. All projects will be designed using best practice, incorporating designs that save, re-use and improve water management. This is called water sensitive urban design.

Stormwater Program is compiled from the investigations of Council staff, initiated from various sources such as drainage studies, requests/complaints received and other known drainage trouble spots throughout the city. Council’s database ranks projects on the basis of hazard. A summary of the criteria follows and is listed in descending order of priority.

  1. Situations where house floor levels are inundated or public safety is at risk
  2. Situations where out-buildings are inundated
  3. Situations where the property is inundated (yard flooding)
  4. Situations which cause a nuisance, such as long term maintenance problems

The State Government has also directed Council to develop and implement a catchment-based Stormwater Management Plan (SMP). Guidelines for the ranking in the SMP were developed by the State Government agency responsible for administering the development of the Stormwater Management Plans. This SMP is used to rank and prioritise stormwater management strategies along with Council’s existing database of stormwater drainage requirements.

Water quality is monitored at various sites along selected waterways creeks along the 80km of creek corridors in Fairfield City. The results of the Water Quality Monitoring Program identify priority projects and works. Details of the water quality sampling are reported in Council's State of the Environment Report.

Fairfield City Council is a member of the Georges Riverkeeper which, with other member Councils in the catchment, undertakes projects and monitoring to improve the quality of the Georges River and its tributaries.

Georges Riverkeeper

Georges Riverkeeper advocates for the protection, conservation and enhancement of the health of the Georges River.  Work focuses on five strategic priorities: catchment actions (such as litter removal and bush rehabilitation), river health monitoring and research, stormwater, and education and capacity building.

Georges Riverkeeper represents the eight local councils in the Georges River Catchment of NSW with a collective responsibility for the health of the Georges River. Members include Bayside Council, Campbelltown City Council, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Fairfield City Council, Georges River Council, Liverpool City Council, Sutherland Shire Council and Wollondilly Shire Council.

Read more about Georges Riverkeeper and the goal of best practice environmental management for a liveable urban river at www.georgesriver.org.au.