Urban Heat In The City Of Parramatta
Here in the Western Sydney region, we are really feeling the heat, with an increasing number of days reaching temperatures of 35℃ and over.
Parramatta’s CBD is located 20 kms west of the coast. It is generally hotter than the Sydney CBD. We have more days over 35℃ and less access to cooling sea breezes than the Sydney CBD. Hot westerly winds from inland add to our high temperatures.
Increased temperatures, and exposure to longer, more frequent extreme heat events can be damaging to our health and wellbeing. People are at risk of dehydration and overheating during extreme heat. We know that people who are older, have chronic conditions or acute illnesses, and the very young are at a much higher risk of heat-related illnesses than other members of our community.
The City of Parramatta has identified urban heat as a key priority in the Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2017. Our goal is to improve liveability by cooling the City and protecting people and communities from heat stress.
We have the opportunity to use the City’s natural and built assets, such as rivers, creeks and green spaces, as well as roads and buildings, to ensure people, and our City, can cool down on hot days.
What is Urban heat?
Urban Heat describes the difference in temperatures between built up, urban areas, and greener, less built up areas. Urban temperature differences are largely a result of the materials and form of the built environment and a decline in green spaces and tree cover.
It is important to know that urban heat can be generated from the sun and through mechanical processes.
In the City of Parramatta, we experience urban heat through localised increased temperatures due to increasing areas of paved, hard, dark coloured surfaces like roads, car parks, footpaths and buildings.
Some areas of the City are also impacted by locally generated heat through the use of mechanical equipment, air conditioners and motor vehicles.
During the day, hard, dark coloured surfaces absorb and store heat and release it back into the environment, which can make it feel hot for longer.
When the air temperature starts to cool at night, these surfaces continue to release the stored heat, which can make it much hotter at night. These increased night temperatures make it harder for us to cool down enough to get restful sleep without running fans and air-conditioning, putting our health at greater risk.
What you can do
Exposure to increased temperatures and long lasting heat has health and wellbeing impacts, however there are things that you can do to reduce the impact to you and your family and friends.
Know your risk
Understanding how heat might impact you will help you to develop a plan for reducing the risk
a. Have a look at the City Heat Maps to see how the Urban Heat Island impacts your local area during the day and overnight.
b. Speak with your medical professional about how heat might impact your health, and ask them for advice on staying well
c. Create an emergency plan for you and your loved ones.
For more information to help you understand your risk, we recommend you visit the following internet sites:
- Bureau of Meteorology: Understanding Heatwaves
- Health Direct: How to handle a heatwave
- City of Parramatta: Parramatta Heat Maps
Being prepared for increasing heat is important for the health and wellbeing of you, your family and friends.
a. Plan for high heat days by moving appointments to the early morning, shading windows and closing doors to rooms you are not using.
b. Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol as they can increase your risk of dehydration.
c. If you can’t cool your house, plan to spend time in an air-conditioned public space
For more ideas for how to prepare for extreme heat, we recommend you visit the following internet sites:
- NSW Health: Beat the Heat
- Australian Red Cross: How to prepare for a heatwave
- RSPCA NSW: Pet hazards, heat stress
Reduce your risk
Can you make changes to your environment to help reduce the risk?
a. Shade your windows. Use thick curtain materials, external shade sails or eaves and shade boxes.
b. When building or renovating, use light coloured surfaces for your roofing, external walls and paved areas.
c. Plant and maintain vegetation that provides dense canopy shade. If you only have a small space, consider climbing plants in pots with trellises placed near your windows.
For more ideas for how to change your environment, we recommend you visit the following internet sites:
- Sustainability Victoria: Sustainability for renters
- Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources: Your Home (for building and renovation tips)
- Sydney Water: Plant selector
What Council is doing to reduce urban heat
The City is working to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect, making our City more liveable.
You can find out more about our actions by exploring the following pages:
- Western Sydney Cool Roads Trial – testing how changing our road surfaces impacts the temperatures of our residential areas.
- City Heat Maps – explore the temperature during the day and night of your local area
- Collaborative Projects – find out about the projects we are supporting to reduce the impact of urban heat
- Urban Greening – follow our progress with the City of Trees program, and find important information about your role in urban greening
- Best Practice in Design and Development – we are working on planning and development controls so that new developments can reduce their urban heat impacts. This work has been identified as an action in our Local Strategic Planning Statement.
For more information, email us at EnvironmentallySustainable@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au or contact the Environmental Outcomes Team on (02) 9806 5993.