Featured projects and partnerships

Over the years Melbourne Water has fostered meaningful partnerships with our customers and community through existing grants in waterway and stormwater management.

woman and man walking along open space

Previously funded projects include:

  • Pest animal control, for example deer monitoring and research
  • Stormwater management – investigation, design and construction
  • Waterway restoration
  • Stormwater pollution tracking
  • Habitat creation
  • Interpretative signage and educational resources
  • citizen science
  • Threatened species
  • Weed management
  • Community group support for building organisational capacity.

Note: This is an indicative list only and we always encourage you to discuss your project idea your Melbourne Water representative.

The following projects showcase the broad variety of partnerships that Melbourne Water supports, and the community and environmental benefits.

Protection and enhancement of wetlands on Phillip Island

man standing next to Phillip Island Nature Parks vehicle

Recipient: Phillip Island Nature Parks 

Amount funded: $16,500 (expected completion January 2022)

Project overview: Not-for-profit conservation organisation Phillip Island Nature Parks has received funding through to tackle invasive weeds in the wetlands and coastal saltmarsh that it manages. These areas are of vital significance to many species of ground dwelling and migratory birds including the little penguins for which Phillip Island is famous.

Expected outcomes

At Fishers Wetland, adjacent to Churchill Island, eight seasons of undertaking weed control in remnant vegetation has significantly reduced the amount of tall wheat grass threatening the fragile and endangered coastal saltmarsh. While kikuyu remains a problem, several native grass species have reappeared naturally, alongside 90,000 plants propagated by Nature Parks and planted by volunteers from the San Remo Primary school, universities and corporates. 

The site is now sufficiently established that the Nature Parks is able to tackle adjoining land that requires rehabilitation. A weed control program targeting tall wheat grass is currently underway, and will be followed by rabbit control and revegetation works in spring. 

“Melbourne Water has given us the financial security to hire contractors year after year which has helped us suppress weeds and protect biodiversity.” Senior Ranger – Coast and Wetlands, Mark Merryful explains.

Gresswell Habitat Link catchment improvement

Recipient: La Trobe University (expected completion October 2020)

Amount funded: $19,500

Project overview: The Incentives program co-funded a partnership project between La Trobe University, Darebin City Council, Parks Victoria and DELWP to design plans for waterway, habitat and flooding mitigation works in the Gresswell Habitat Link.

The partnership project will undertake design for works to enhance and extend an existing habitat on the ephemeral waterway, undertake water management and flood mitigation works to a waterway that has previously flooded and caused in excess of $5 million asset damage and extend and improve public accessible parkland.

Expected outcomes
  • Link the natural water flow from the existing ephemeral creek bed to the remainder of the waterway by decommissioning legacy drainage works that divert the flow to storm water, allowing this flow to continue on its original course to the wetland.
  • Increase environmental quality, amenity, community engagement and education of this natural asset.
  • The works will be guided by the cultural heritage management plan and, subject to consultation with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, providing an opportunity to reinforce the narrative of the original inhabitants of this land.
  • Mitigate flooding damage suffered by residents and La Trobe University. 

Cardinia Creek catchment aerial survey

Recipient: Cardinia Deer Management Coalition Inc. (expected completion 30/10/2020)

Amount funded: $27,500

Project overview: Co-funded by the Incentives Program, the Cardinia Deer Management Coalition will conduct a combined aerial and land survey of the parts of the Cardinia creek catchment using a combination of infrared camera equipped helicopters, drones and camera traps to identify the location and numbers of deer in the landscape. The data collected and results obtained during this survey will be used to:

  • enhance the biodiversity and ecological values in the catchment by enabling better targeted deer control programs
  • calibrate the new technique of aerial surveys in the Cardinia Reservoir area, against the camera trap method being undertaken by Melbourne Water concurrently.
Expected outcomes
  • A successful survey will give an immediate snapshot of deer numbers and locations which otherwise may not be available for a number of years.
  • The data obtained by this survey will be shared with other stakeholders, such as Melbourne Water, Parks Vic and three local councils, leading to better strategies in managing the deer population and better cooperation across the various tenure types in the catchment. 
  • Provide an indication on the size of the response required to hold or reduce deer numbers in the catchment.
  • A better understanding of the preferred sheltering locations for deer over a large expanse of this type of habitat and terrain.

Community members weeding and tree planting

Improving the health of Cannibal Creek

Recipient: Cannibal Creek Landcare Group (completed July 2019)

Amount funded: $22,000

Project overview: Weed control and revegetation along Cannibal Creek; engagement of private landholders adjoining Cannibal Creek to manage their creek frontages.  

  • Monthly working bees and planting days organised by the Group have also resulted in several thousand native trees, shrubs and grasses being planted by volunteers. 
  • Practically the entire western section of Cannibal Creek is now fenced off from stock, which will significantly improve water quality and - provided that weed control is kept up - allow native plants to regenerate. 
Lessons learnt

A major challenge to revegetation and regeneration involves weeds and pest animals, particularly deer. Again, the group has taken a proactive and cooperative approach. It collaborated with Melbourne Water to remove willows, poplars and pines (which destroy the ecology of our waterways) from several privately and publicly owned sections along the creek. It has also engaged and with local businesses Holcim Quarries, Cannibal Creek Vineyard and Gumbaya Park to help control weeds, and with licensed shooters to manage deer, foxes and rabbits.

Sassafras Stormwater Detention System

Stormwater detention tanks underground

Recipient: Yarra Ranges Council (completed 30/04/2019)

Amount funded: $276,000

Project overview: Co-funded by the Living Rivers program, Yarra Ranges Council constructed a large detention tank under the Sassafras Village Green using Stormtech Arches. A secondary tank located under Woodlands Avenue was constructed to capture runoff from part of the catchment that could not be diverted to the primary tank. The tanks will be unlined at the base, allowing water to infiltrate the soil. Water quality treatment will be provided within the base of the tank and in the restored gully.

  • Reduced stormwater flows into the degraded Sassafras Creek gully. All flows (base-flow, low-flow and high-flow) will be diverted into the detention tank and filtered through a ~200-micron mesh.
  • The tank temporarily stores water and slowly discharges it back to the drainage system at a controlled maximum flowrate of 20L/s. This will relieve the gully from the erosive forces of stormwater flows that regularly exceed the 20L/s rate and will enable lost vegetation and soil profiles to re-establish along its corridor.
Lessons learnt
  • Plan for existing services: Concept showed existing gas main through the Village Green, the detailed design plans did not. A missed detail with high potential for project failure.
  • Tree protection: Tree protection zones were inadequate as per consultant's initial survey. The discrepancies resulted in engaging a project arborist to undertake root investigation based on updated tree protection zones and the setup of a tree protection management plan. This activity had cost implications to the budget.
  • Construction logistics and community liaison: This should ideally form part of a concept design phase, including consideration of the impacts of traffic (number of truck movements, road closures), material (stockpile and surplus material), and location (stockpile and disposal sites). Traders, residents, and community groups should be informed in advance of construction commencement and should have the ability to express concerns.

Protecting platypus in the Plenty River from stormwater pollution

Recipient: City of Whittlesea (completed 19/08/2018)

Amount funded: $9,616

Project overview: The Living Rivers program supported raising awareness in the community of water quality threats to platypus habitat via installation of stream pollution sensors and visual displays of current water conditions. Placed within the Heaths Court Drain catchment, every few minutes the sensors monitor pH, conductivity, temperature and dissolved oxygen. Measurement results are communicated to the local community using a Platypus Water Quality Indicator Sign which displays the water quality data on a clear visual scale, ranging from Poor to Excellent.

Should a pollution event be recorded by the sensors, SMS message alert notifications are sent to Council officers, allowing them to investigate the incident.

  • A range of teaching modules have been developed, with emphasis on coding, micro-computers and environmental sensors will allow students to become involved in a range of citizen science projects.
  • Real-time environmental sensing data available for local waterways. Data from the platypus sensor is sent as a text once every hour. The data will also be available on a web site (click here). Currently the web site displays water temperature data, however this will be expanded to include conductivity, pH and other system status data.
  • Intuitive signage using LED lighting to communicate the quality of water to the public (inspired by Fire Danger signs indicating bush fire risk). Four different coloured LEDs were used (red, amber, green and blue) to indicate water quality of the Heaths Court Drain waterway.
  • Solar power management systems were delivered for the Platypus stormwater pollution sensors and signs. 
Lessons learnt
  • To ensure durability, avoiding malfunction of measurement sensors in the waterway environment was critical. They were tested for air and water leaks; it took some experimentation to develop a leak proof structure.  Moisture desiccant satchels were also included in the sensor to prevent condensation during cool spells.
  • There were many technical challenges faced with this project when it began in December 2017. They included, finding a suitable battery, solar panel, computer, data plan and electronic sign – by overcoming these Council staff are well placed to deliver similar concepts in future.
  • Collaboration with external parties was invaluable to overcoming technical challenges faced when developing this platypus project.

Brunswick streetscape improvements

Dawson Street (Brunswick) Streetscape Improvements

Recipient: Moreland City Council (completed 29/12/2017)

Amount funded: $150,000

Project overview: Melbourne Water co-funded the Construction of three raingardens and 9 tree pits in Dawson Street, between the Upfield railway line and Sydney Road (Brunswick), using a variety of grass and shrub species ordinarily not associated with rain gardens.


Three kerbside rain gardens planted with a variety of grasses, shrubs and trees. The planting palette will demonstrate that rain gardens can support a wide variety flowering species to look beautiful in street environments.

Lessons learnt
  • Recommend trenches with structural soil connecting WSUD tree pits, so as to allow space for growth of tree roots.
  • Engage with service authorities at an early stage to discuss ways to work around conflict of services with rain gardens.


Last updated:
28 October 2020