Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project

Creating a significant piece of green infrastructure on one of Sydney’s oldest post-industrial wastelands.


City of Sydney


2015 - Current




Sydney Park, Sydney

Much has been achieved over the past two decades in transforming the Sydney Park site from its industrial and landfill legacy, into 44 hectares of parkland and a vital asset for the growing communities of Sydney’s south-east.

This project was City of Sydney’s largest environmental project to date, built in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. It is an integral component of Sustainable Sydney 2030; targeting 10% of water demand to be met through local water capture and re-use in the park. The City also seized the opportunity to use what was essentially an infrastructure project as a vehicle to breathe new life into the park – as a vibrant recreation and environmental asset for Sydney.

The City engaged a design team led by landscape architects TDEP who orchestrated a multi-disciplinary collaboration inter-weaving design, art, science and ecology. The resulting ‘roundtable’ facilitated a shared design dialogue between water experts Equatica, artists Turpin + Crawford Studio, ecologists Dragonfly Environmental and the City’s own Landscape Architects.

Previously, all stormwater from the 200 hectare upstream catchment flowed through to Munni Channel, and into Alexandra Canal and Botany Bay untreated. The ponds at Sydney Park suffered poor water quality and outbreaks of blue-green algae, Azolla and Duckweed largely due to periods of low rainfall and the stagnation of water during the warmer months.

The Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project now provides enhanced circulation of water through the chain of ponds and wetlands; improving water quality, visual amenity and detention storage effectiveness.

The water scheme diverts an average of 840 mega litres per annum of stormwater for treatment and re-use. The treatment train includes a gross pollutant trap, 5000m2 of bio-retention system, wetlands and the existing ponds. Water recycled for irrigation is further treated by filtration and UV disinfection.

30 million litres a year of harvested water is now recycled for improved circulation of the ponds, irrigation of Alan Davidson oval and the Village Green, and non-potable water supply for the nursery and truck washing at the City of Sydney Depot.

The scheme is also intended to ultimately service additional uses beyond Sydney Park. These include nearby industrial sites such as concrete batching plants, metal recyclers, industrial laundry facilities, and textile manufacturers, as well as future urban redevelopment projects such as Ashmore Precinct and Alexandra Canal.

The result is an interwoven system of water re-use, recreation, and habitat that gives life to the water story, and an exciting new dimension to this well-loved parkland.

“An inspiring and innovative project that not only goes way beyond standard sustainability outcomes, but also captures the hearts and minds of everyone who visits. “Using an integrated engineering approach and water sensitive urban design, the project team took a derelict post-industrial site and transformed it into a living, breathing stormwater capture and filtration system rich in biodiversity and recreational value.

“This made the project clearly standout, as it responds not only to the climate change driven problems of increased drought and heavy storms and the need to conserve our water resources, but also responding to the need for low impact development which fits seamlessly into its surroundings. Ultimately this project is thoughtfully designed, elegantly executed and an exemplar of climate change leadership.”

John Davies, Derwent London, Civic Trust Awards National Panel 2018