Our water quality projects

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Local water quality projects

Urban development and the associated increase in impervious surfaces, means that less water is absorbed into the ground and greater levels of surface water run-off are produced. Stormwater runoff collects a range of land based pollutants as it makes its way to the receiving waters.

Council undertakes a range of projects to manage stormwater and improve water quality.

Rain garden

Rain gardens act as natural filters to remove contaminants before water flows into our waterways.

Gross Pollutant Traps and Litter Nets

litter_net_25016 gross pollutant traps (GPT’s) and 4 litter nets are installed throughout the municipality. These traps and nets collect organic matter, litter and other waste washed into the drains and stormwater network before it enters the harbour. Council staff and contractors regularly clean out these traps and nets to ensure they are functioning correctly.

Council also provides free dog poo collection bags and cigarette butt bins in a number of Council parks to encourage residents to keep dog poo and cigarette butts out of our drains and harbour.

Street Sweeping

Council’s street sweeping activities assist in the removal of organic matter and litter from our streets before it gets washed into our stormwater network. All business centres are swept every day and all residential streets are swept every four weeks.

Water Quality Monitoring

water_qualityThe NSW State Government measures the recreational water quality of Sydney Harbour and the surrounding beaches through the Harbourwatch and Beachwatch programs.

Water samples are collected from all swimming locations in the greater metropolitan region once every six days as part of a long term monitoring program. In Woollahra, samples are collected from our five main swimming locations; Redleaf Pool, Rose Bay Beach, Nielsen Park, Parsley Bay and Watsons Bay.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage conducts regular water quality monitoring of NSW Beaches. Historical data and daily bulletins on water quality are available at Beachwatch.

Beach Cleaning

beach_cleaning_double_bay_250Council beach cleaners carry out daily cleaning of the beach. The level of cleaning is dependent on the tides and includes the use of a tractor/beach rake 3 times a week and hand raking/litter picks on the remaining days (including weekends and public holidays above the high tide line when time and tide allows).

This beach cleaning program occurs all year round at nine sites in Double Bay, Rose Bay, Parsley Bay, Watsons Bay and Camp Cove.

While litter dropped by locals and visitors contributes to the need for beach cleaning, a significant amount of the litter that ends up on Woollahra beaches has been washed onshore from Sydney Harbour.

In partnership with Council’s beach cleaning program, there are a number of community groups who are taking action to address the issue of litter on our beaches with regular clean-up activities.

Find out more about how you can get involved.

Bush Regeneration and Maintenance

cooper_park_bush_regen_250Councils bush regeneration activities assist in retaining the ecological function of the riparian vegetation along natural waterways and creeks. Vegetation along the waterways assists in the natural treatment of water flowing through the creeks and into the Harbour.

Find out more about Council's bush regeneration program.


bellevue_hill_shops_raingardenWhile our gross pollutant traps and litter nets can catch larger pollution such as litter, leaves and sediment, they cannot capture and treat suspended sediments, nutrients, phosphorus, nitrogen and heavy metals. This is where the water sensitive urban design (WSUD) technique of installing raingardens can make a big difference to our local water quality.

Raingardens resemble regular garden beds, except they're designed to capture and clean stormwater using a mix of plants, gravel and permeable surfaces. Pollutants are captured and treated by sand filters and plants such as macrophytes, sedges and rushes.

Woollahra Council is progressively integrating raingardens across our storm water network and water catchments to help reduce the amount of pollutants entering our waterways and the Harbour. To date we have installed ten raingardens at the following five sites:

  • Powell Road, Rose Bay
  • Lyne Park, Rose Bay
  • Bunyula and Boronia Streets, Rose Bay
  • Hopetoun Avenue, Vaucluse
  • Bellevue Road, Bellevue Hill

Floodplain Management

Council's Floodplain Risk Management Committee is currently preparing comprehensive floodplain studies for the Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Paddington and Watsons Bay catchments.