Photo: City of Greater Bendigo
Many different kinds of plants and animals live in and along our creeks and rivers, including frogs, native fish, turtles, and beautiful River Red Gums.
These plants and animals have evolved to suit the conditions of their waterways – water levels, regularity and the speed of water flows. Keeping these conditions within natural limits is essential for ensuring our water is fresh, clean and productive.
In the past, Bendigo’s creeks were part of a natural system that included clear bodies of water surrounded by trees, shrubs and grasses, creating habitat for plants and animals and naturally filtering water flows.
Bendigo: dry on the surface with an underground sea
Bendigo is naturally dry on the surface but underneath holds a vast groundwater system. The groundwater is high in salts (salinity) and in some areas contains arsenic, which is harmful to humans and the environment.
The groundwater is close to the surface in some low-lying areas, and can damage buildings, roads and gardens.
Creeks to concrete
Bendigo’s creeks and gullies were significantly altered during the gold-mining boom and later to mitigate flooding. In some areas, natural creek lines and plant cover were replaced with concrete and drains.
Footpaths and roads have also added to the increase of hard surface areas in urban Bendigo, making it prone to flash flooding. During heavy rainfall water can run very quickly across these hard surfaces and is not absorbed.
When stormwater reaches waterways it can damage creek banks and the plants and animals that live in and around the watercourse.
In several new and existing suburbs wetlands have been built to filter stormwater. They also add habitat and recreational values to the area too.
Sharing our water
Our water is in limited supply in meeting the needs of people, industry and the natural environment.
To help conserve water it’s important we only use what we need and do our best to ensure enough remains in the system to keep waterways healthy and to supply plants and animals with much-needed habitat.
What CAN I DO?
- Be water wise in the home and garden and adhere to the permanent water saving rules or water restrictions.
- Visit the Coliban Water website at www.coliban.com.au for water saving tips and to obtain Smart Gardens for a Dry Climate.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products, as they don’t contain harsh chemicals that can harm aquatic plants and animals.
- Install a water tank or grey water system to water your garden or to supply toilets and washing machines.