When I imagine a storm-water drain I think of, well, what I’ve always seen, you know, the cheapest, nastiest, ugliest concrete pipe jutting out onto some poor, unexpected waterway. When it rains it unleashes a furry of rubbish and toxic pollution straight off the street along with a large quantity of water that calves an erosive scare where it hits the earth. I have often asked myself, is this really the best we can do. Do we like swimming in our own filth and discarded rubbish, is it ok that because of our laziness all this muck eventually washes into the bellies of our marine creatures, I think not. Now this old style system of storm water management has been around forever and has come from a time when little regard was put into environmental outcomes of actions. Thankfully, we are starting to see a change in this area and todays example at Varsity Lakes (Gold Coast) is up there with the best I have ever seen (Although I will bring you more examples as I see them).
The builders of this storm-water drain have taken a 5 step approach (well that’s what I can see, maybe there are more). Step 1: is to have an effective outlet of storm-water from the street, no brainer as we have already discussed, engineers have been doing this since Noah was a boy. Step 2: is to control the rubbish and plastic drink bottles that are thrown all over our streets (when you actually look at it, it is astonishing just how much rubbish is discarded onto the ground by people). This has been done with a clever net that has been placed at the end of the drain itself to catch the rubbish to be periodically emptied. Step 3: is to stop the erosive effect of the water coming out of the pipe with the shallow wide approach of the wetland. Step 4: is to remove most of the toxins before they enter the main body of water with aquatic plants that are able to filter them. Last but not least is step 5: create a magnificent wetland area full of native plants that has made homes for countless aquatic birds and animals, not to mention a fabulous place for humans to enjoy.
The other magnificent thing about this area and all around it are the many tracks that are not accessible by car so you can feel safe, breath easy and enjoy the tranquility. Hope you have enjoyed this weeks edition of ‘My Walkabout Plant’, see you next time.