Water Sensitive Bendigo

Two kids riding bikes on a gravel path in the evening light. Two adults watch in delight from a bench seat.

Water Sensitive Bendigo is about working together to become a thriving inland city, where water innovation supports healthy people, green environments and resilient systems.

Water Sensitive Bendigo was developed in response to a research project led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities in 2018. The project engaged our community to develop a vision for a water sensitive Bendigo, and identified strategies and actions to achieve it. We've established a cross-agency partnership to make this vision become a reality through proactive and collaborative water management between agencies, industry and community. 

Becoming a Water Sensitive City (WSC) aims to protect and enhance our natural waterways in urban catchments by reducing pollution in stormwater runoff and keeping water in the landscape longer. Recycling water within our properties is ecologically responsible and a cost-effective use of a scarce resource.

Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) re-defines water management and conservation in a practical way. Designing new housing and other developments to incorporate WSUD ensures that water is used as efficiently as possible. Instead of removing water from a site without treatment, and creating water quality and quantity problems downstream, WSUD looks to store, resuse and treat water at every possible opportunity.

Over 18 months, the Dja Dja Wurrung, relevant agencies and the local community co-designed a plan for Reimagining Bendigo Creek.

The plan’s mission is to “change people’s hearts and minds to take united action so that in a generation’s time Bendigo Creek will be a healthy, connected and nurturing place.” To achieve this mission, the plan outlines three interlinking goals of:

  1. Catchment: Create a healthy Bendigo Creek by improving the catchment and creating flood resilient communities
  2. Connections: Bendigo Creek forms a continuous and integrated public space network for our community to enjoy and move freely through
  3. Culture: Bendigo Creek embodies our diverse cultures and is actively cared for by the community  

The plan was endorsed on July 17, 2020 by the City of Greater Bendigo after extensive consultation with involved agencies and community.  

The Reimagining Bendigo Creek presents strategies for precincts: 

  • Kangaroo Flat: Big Hill range to Bay Street, Golden Square
  • Golden Square, Bendigo: Bay Street, Golden Square to Weeroona Avenue, North Bendigo
  • White Hills: Weeroona Avenue, North Bendigo to Howard Street, Epsom
  • Epsom to Huntly: Howard Street, Epsom to Bendigo-Tennyson Road, Huntly

The City of Greater Bendigo is proposing to enhance the Long Gully creek reserve by installing constructed wetlands. The proposed site is off Holdsworth Road North Bendigo (view location map).

A constructed wetland is a shallow pond planted with native plants, which helps filter and clean stormwater before it enters a waterway. The constructed wetlands will also create habitat for frogs and birds and enhance the amenity of the local area by improving the landscaping around the waterway (see artist’s impression of what the site may look like in the future). 

The proposed constructed wetlands aim to improve urban waterway health, increase amenity, create a cool green urban refuge and opportunities to build connections between people and nature. It is part of the overarching strategy: Vision and Transition Strategy for Water Sensitive Bendigo, Reimagining Bendigo Creek Plan and the City's vision of creating the world's most liveable regional community.

This project is jointly funded by the City and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. The City is working in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung and North Central Catchment Management Authority to develop the project.

A cross-agency partnership has been created to coordinate and commit to Water Sensitive Bendigo, resulting in a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) . The MoU expresses the working arrangements for Water Sensitive Bendigo, including: 

  • A governance structure for cross-agency collaboration which includes the formation of a working group and a forum for decision makers;
  • a commitment to form a network of community members and professionals;
  • a coordination role for the City of Greater Bendigo; and
  • a requirement to develop and deliver a three year implementation plan.

The MoU was signed by five Partner Organisations: Coliban Water, City of Greater Bendigo, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the North Central Catchment Management Authority. It is also signed by three supporting organisations: Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, Department of Health and Human Services and Goulburn-Murray Water. The MoU allows for additional organisations to be added as required. 

Vision and Transition Strategy for a Water Sensitive Bendigo

Water Sensitive Urban Design Toolkit

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