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City in Nature

River & Waterways

Why is this important?

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The Parramatta River is one of Australia’s most iconic waterways, being central to Australia’s Indigenous and colonial history, and to the development of modern Sydney.

The river is the natural centre of our City. It’s our backyard. With its long, meandering shoreline, it’s as valuable as Sydney’s beaches. By restoring it to its former glory, we want to make it a way of life for our residents, and a destination for our visitors.

There are 65km of creeks and tributaries with the municipality and 1 in 10 swimmers have swum in the Parramatta River in the past 12 months.

There are 291 stormwater pollution devices removing around 260 tonnes of sediment and litter each year.

A clean, clear river supports life. It promotes healthy ecosystems in the river, the catchment and the natural creeks. The key to making the river swimmable again is to limit pollutants from entering the river through the stormwater and drainage system in our streets, and the sewer system across our catchment.

Make the Parramatta River Swimmable again by 2025.

What we're already doing

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  • Reintroducing swimming to Lake Parramatta in 2015
  • Supporting water sensitive urban design in new developments and public areas
  • Partnering with neighbouring Councils and State agencies as a member of the Parramatta River Catchment Group to make the river swimmable again
  • Identified four proposed new swimming locations on the river
  • Working towards a River Masterplan and the Parramatta River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan
  • Engaging the community through the Riverkeeper network
  • Working on compliance initiatives and habitat restoration projects
  • Parramatta River Masterplan Community Research Project November 2016

Our Actions (1-4 years)

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  • Continue to provide a high-quality swimming environment at Lake Parramatta
  • Continue working with the Parramatta River Catchment Group to deliver the Parramatta River Masterplan, Riverkeeper Network and River Aware Program
  • Enhance priority habitat corridors for our five iconic species ( Eastern Long Neck Turtle, Powerful Owl, Bar-tailed Godwit, Striped Marsh Frog, Southern Myotis) and native fish
  • Review needs and opportunities for the Lane Cove River Catchment
  • Update the Rivers of Opportunities Water Strategy to identify and prioritise local initiatives to support the broader catchment goal
  • Continue compliance initiatives to reduce pollution entering the river
  • Construct new wetlands to create habitats
  • Create water sensitive urban design that filters pollution from stormwater runoff
  • Implement recommendations from Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy and practice review
  • Increase stormwater harvesting and reuse on public and private land
  • Work with water utilities to improve stormwater and sewer infrastructure
  • Further investigate the delivery of the four new natural swimming facilities on the river
  • Continue acting on the Parramatta River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan

Photo: Bar-tailed Godwit

For more information

Contact the Environmental Outcomes Team on:
Phone: (02) 9806 5620
Email: environmentallysustainable@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au