Recent News:

Water Campaign 2015

The Western Australia Government Water Campaign contract (2013-15) continues through to 30 June 2015 and will deliver Local Action Plans to 11 nominated councils; facilitate participants into the Waterwise Councils Program; support information exchange on the implementation of better practices and technologies; and advance leading councils into a broader role in landscape water management.

We have been strategically working with councils to complete their Milestone program and ensure that the legacy of the Water Campaign extends beyond our contract with the Western Australia Government that concludes in June 2015.

ICLEI’s role in water efficiency and quality management will refocus with an emphasis on biodiversity, linking the Water Campaign to the possible funding in 2015 - 2016 of a pilot 'Local Action for Biodiversity - Australia' in the south west region of Western Australia.

City of Bayswater awarded Milestone 4

Jeremy Maher, Mayor Sylvan Albert being presented by Greg Hales

The City of Bayswater has achieved Milestone 4 in the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) – Local Governments for Sustainability Water Campaign™.

The City has successfully implemented actions from the council’s Water Action Plan developed in Milestone 3. This includes projects which reduce the amount of water the City uses and improve the quality of stormwater that flows to the river.

Mayor Sylvan Albert said that the conducted water audits revealed that the installation of rainwater tanks and centralised irrigation systems, made it possible to reduce the demand on precious water supplies significantly. The City also applies the principles of hydrozoning in projects. This is done by clustering plants with similar water needs together. That way you can preserve water as it allows you to customise irrigation schedules.

“We believe the City should set a great example by decreasing the water usage in its buildings. Therefore we have set ourselves to the task to demonstrate that water efficient appliances are a simple and effective way to save water."

Through participation in the Water Campaign™, the City has also improved water quality entering surrounding waterways. Some of the actions the City undertook are;
• the installation of storm water pollution traps;
• the creation of rain gardens that naturally filter the water and;
• living stream projects at Weldsquare primary school.

Mr Greg Hales, ICLEI Oceania, said water conservation in scheme and groundwater is one of the most pressing concerns facing local governments today, stating ‘a healthy environment is highly linked with community wellbeing and health.’

"Australian communities are aware of the urgent need to act on climate change and local government has a significant role to play in the sustainable management of our precious and limited water resources," said Mr Hales continuing.

In Western Australia the program is delivered with the support of the Government of Western Australia.

Western Australia in 2015

Investment changes for 2014-15 brings focus on those Councils wanting to join the Waterwise Councils Program and are not operating under any water plan.

The change in focus will enable Councils to receive extra assistance in their water planning to progress their entry into the program. Councils will be given extra assistance in the form of Updated Inventories with recommended actions for eligibility into the Waterwise Program.

These reviews will also be offered to our Participant Councils Program as part of the benefits of membership. Other rural Councils interested in a Water Inventory may be eligible as well, especially those seeking Waterwise endorsement.

Contact us to see how you can be involved.

Urban Water and Landscape Regeneration Forum

Perth: 1 April 2014

Representatives from local and state government joined community groups at the ICLEI Oceania ‘Urban Water and Landscape Regeneration’ Forum held in Perth as part of the Water Campaign program in Western Australia.

There were some key messages presented to over 60 attendees, who attended the Forum at the WA Ecology Centre in the beautiful 437-hectare urban bushland area of Bold Park in the suburb of City Beach, Perth.

Speaker Major General, the Honorable Michael Jeffery AO set the scene for the day with a inspiring keynote address linking the landscape functioning of the urban environment to the lessons learnt from rural restoration and natural process, identifying that the management of biodiversity, water and soils need to be managed in a coordinated and wholistic way to ensure sustainability and resilience to climate change. He added, “The current state of the Australian natural landscape is further challenged by stresses from our changing climate, water security, future energy options, population growth, increasing demand on resources and its capacity to substantially increase our food and fibre production. The interrelated character of these challenges can be best met through a comprehensive coordinated approach with improved environmental regenerative management practices being key to that approach.”

To realise these opportunities, change on such a large scale will require relevant information, sound supporting policies, extensive education and focused, effective incentives. Using the heat island effect as a example to show how these processes interact, General Jeffery had the crowd imagining themselves in open space standing under the shade of an urban tree, 3 degrees cooler than the turfed active park and up to 7 degrees cooler than the paved carpark surrounding the urban park.

He went on to explain that of the rainfall that lands on a landscape, 98 per cent of Australia’s rainfall falls on soils, just 12 per cent of this reaches streams and only 2 per cent is currently stored in dams. With over 50 per cent of Australia’s rainfall lost from the landscape due to evaporation, we substantially rely on the 2 per cent that can be stored in dams that are seldom full.

A presentation by the Bruce Hamilton and Peter Nash from Southwest Group of Councils, demonstrated their new NRM planning structures for the member councils to invest in a Landscape planning approach. Aiming to entrench landscape planning into Local Government policies and business plans, strategic planning of landscape processes may present the pathway to allow rainfall runoff from our hard surfaces towards existing and green infrastructure, particular during hot weather, is the means to making our cities, greener, cooler and more resilient to climate change.

General Jeffery, in addressing the forum said, “What the Southwest Group had done should be sent to all councils in Australia as the example of Council collaborations in planning for landscape level outcomes in the urban environment.” A testimonial the Southwest Group should be proud.

The Forum next looked at the new tools available for local government in landscape management.

Don Cummins gave a presentation to confirm the processes that local government can be involved in the new water trading processes in WA, highlighting that any groundwater saved below their allocation may be traded in the short term. This available water, usually obtained from groundwater efficiency actions in hydrozoning public open space, was thought to be part of the mythical “use it or loose it” policy. In confirming the potential economic use of this water, the challenges will now be in how this temporary water may be utilised by developers and the community. Further information refer to the Department of Water Operational Policy 5.13

A case study on the Western Suburbs Recycled Water Scheme was presented by Mark Goodlet. Mark presented a great overview of the issues and advantages, covering health issues and the approval process before presenting his model for the western suburbs. Mark has previously implemented the Margaret River Recycled Scheme, and demonstrated that this model developed in regional areas, is the only way that the state should partner with local government to achieve the state target of 30% use of recycled water.

Following a light lunch, supplied by the Forum sponsor, Rockwell Pty Ltd, the Forum turned its attention to managed aquifer recharge and reuse as a below ground water storage option for Perth.

Presentations by Karen Johnson and Don McFarlane, showed the theory and applicability to Pert of this emerging water source. Feasibility assessments undertaken by DoW, CSIRO and consultants indicate favorable conditions for uptake of managed aquifer reuse(MAR) in Perth and surrounds, showing there is enough stormwater and treated wastewater to influence groundwater levels around Perth but the distribution of sources and ‘sinks’ is not ideal for cost and safety reasons, however wetland loss and salt water intrusion are increasing and we need to develop solutions to these environmental issues before they are urgently needed.

The Forum then heard from Dan Nelson who gave a practitioners presentation of his current “Hartfield Park MAR Project”. He demonstrated the viability assessment process that culminated into the detailed plan and operating strategy, required to define the scope of works for council decision.

A Q&A session, hosted by Mark Batty from WALGA, clarified issues and allowed participants to refine the many technical points brought up during the day.

A walking tour to the Perry Lakes, where Don McFarlane presented a Case Study in the field, finished the day with a hands-on approach to wetland management in an urban setting.

ICLEI Oceania thanks all the presenters for their efforts on the day and hope that this becomes the start of actual collaborations between the attendees to progress these new technologies.

Download presentations from the Forum from our resources page.

City of Swan achieves Milestone 3

Perth: 22 Jan 2014

The City of Swan becomes the first WA Council to endorse their Water Action Plan in 2014.

The Plan aims to reduce corporate scheme water consumption per capita of population by 20% below 2010/2011 levels by end of 2015/2016 while promoting the City of Swan as a sustainable water manager and increase its capacity to educate and influence its communities to improve their water management.

Staff at ICLEI Oceania congratulate the City of Swan on this achievement.

Local Governments Delivering on Water Efficiency

Perth, 8 August 2013

ICLEI Oceania held a recognition event at the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) Local Government Convention on Thursday 8 August.

Sixty attendees from local government were tpresent to enjoy a chat over breakfast and celebrate Thirteen Councils who were recognised for their achievements in the WA Water Campaign™. View images.

Keynote speaker was the Hon. Terry Redman MLA, Minister for Water Resources, Government of Western Australia, who spokeabout the role of local government in water efficiency/conservation, highlighting the impact of the Water Campaign and Waterwise Councils and some good examples of what councils have acheived. The Minister spoke of the next phase in water palnning with increased climate independent systems such as groundwater replenishment and wastewater recycling.

A welcome address by Mayor Troy Pickard, President, Western Australian Local Government Association, was followed by Martin Brennan, CEO, ICLEI Oceania.

The event was completed with councils testimonials by Mayor Paddi Creevey, City of Mandurah, and Mayor Logan Howlett, City of Cockburn. The City of Cockburn was also awarded the 21st Waterwise Council to be endorsed since 2009.

In his speech, Martin Brennan spoke how water promotes sustainability and is the cornerstone of a sustainable town and city and thus the neighbourhoods in which we live! “Together the Water Campaign and the Waterwise Councils Program have galvanised a cooperative relationship with local councils to improve water efficiency in council operations and across local communities and build thriving neighbourhoods.” Mr Brennan said.

Western Australia continues to be at the forefront of our Water Campaign with 42 participating councils covering metro Perth and southwest regional Western Australia. The Cities of Bassendean and South Perth and Shire of Mundaring who will be recognised this morning have each achieved in excess of a 50% reduction in corporate scheme water use since their base year.

In the last 12 months –

  • 20 Councils have achieved 35 Milestones with 12 of those councils being recognised this morning;
  • 30 Councils have now achieved Milestone 3 and are implementing a local water action plan; and
  • 20 Councils have now achieved Milestone 5 and have conducted a re-inventory.

Photos from the 2013 ICLEI Recognition and Waterwise Awards Breakfast

All Photos are now available. Email to find out how to access.


Green wall on Cantonment St
The 6m fence will take the wall up to the roofline

Green walls and facades are some of the City of Fremantle’s latest tools in the work to adapt the city to climate change. The City of Fremantle has commenced the Fremantle Green Skins project, aimed at encouraging the local community to design and construct living walls and rooftop gardens in Fremantle.

The venture forms part of the City’s strategic imperative to lead in the provision of environmentally sustainable solutions for the benefit of current and future generations and in particular the objective to encourage native and community gardens.

Fremantle Green Skins Project:

Aimed at encouraging the local community to design and construct living walls and rooftop gardens in Fremantle. The venture forms part of the City’s strategic imperative to lead in the provision of environmentally sustainable solutions for the benefit of current and future generations and in particular the objective to encourage native and community gardens.

The project is a collaboration between the City, Fremantle’s Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP) and The University of Western Australia’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts (ALVA). The project has selected a number of walls in Fremantle as likely prototypes. Design plans for the greening of these walls will be prepared by landscape architect students from The University of Western Australia and will be coordinated by a local resident, Professor Grant Revell.

The greening of cities and their buildings is becoming an urgent topic for those interested in creating sustainable cities: “Living walls and rooftop gardens can be designed as public artworks in their own right and provide beautiful additions to any urban environment. They also help control the temperature of buildings to maximise cooling and energy saving benefits, whilst providing for possible food production and increased bio-diversity,” Mayor of the City of Fremantle Dr Pettitt said. “This project is not only going to make Fremantle a greener, more beautiful place, it is also going to contribute to important sustainability debates about how we green our streets and bring ecology back into our city centres,” he said.

Two sites where the green walls have been installed are the Westgate Mall and a west-facing wall on Cantonment Street.

Garage Mahal Home Vertical Green Wall:

Currently at a height of 4.5 metres on both sides of the building, the growing in Lois Lane near Fremantle covers 126 square metres and is the largest green wall in in Western Australia at present.

The vertical green wall had to be engineered and approved by local council and was designed for two stages, first at 4.5 metres in height (which is its present height) with the intention to go up to 6 metres in height. Importantly the structure was engineered and approved for the 6 metre height.

The concept of the green wall dates back to 600 BC with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Green walls are found most often in urban environments where the plants reduce overall temperatures of the building. Heat build-up in cities is caused by the absorption of solar radiation by roads and buildings in the city and the storage of this heat in the building material and its subsequent re-radiation. Plant surfaces however, as a result of transpiration, do not rise more than 4–5 °C above the ambient and are sometimes cooler."

Living walls may also be a means for water reuse. The plants may purify slightly polluted water (such as greywater) by absorbing the dissolved nutrients. Bacteria mineralize the organic components to make them available to the plants. Living walls are particularly suitable for cities, as they allow good use of available vertical surface areas. They are also suitable in arid areas, as the circulating water on a vertical wall is less likely to evaporate than in horizontal gardens.

The living wall could also function for urban agriculture, urban gardening, or for its beauty as art.


The City of Fremantle has determined that by lowering the achievable end quality of turf from the highest recommended by the industry they can still achieve playable turf quality at their active reserves – like e.g. Fremantle Park.

It is commonly recognised throughout the industry that the highest quality turf requires 9,000 to 11,000kl of water per hectare per annum, dependent on climatic conditions, turf species & usage.

The City of Fremantle has determined that their sporting reserves are not classified as top of the range elite quality sport fields and so do not require the volume of water needed for this type of playing surfaces.

The City has found that by carefully applying less than industry recommended amounts of water, along with regular monitoring of turf and climate conditions, a suitable quality of turf can be achieved, which still would be an adequate and safe playing field.

Having irrigated within the DoW allocation at Fremantle Park during the last abstraction rate period, the City now anticipates with the above measures being implemented, along with the efficiency of a new irrigation system to be installed, as well as hydro and eco zones to be introduced, a suitable playing surface for the grade and purpose of the activities on Fremantle Park can be achieved using approximately 10% under the ground water allocation limit.

Grand Projects

Ever wanted to do the BIG projects in water management? Our Grand projects section has been given its own page. Read more Case Studies from the Water Campaign™.


We are delighted with the enthusiastic response from Councils following our recent SPLASH newsletter informing you of further options in the Water CampaignTM post Milestone 5 and we encourage your ongoing feedback as we develop the modules.

Some of you have asked about the scope of IWRM, what resources are included and what isn’t? IWRM is unlimited in scope as it is a coordinated process of managing and developing water, land and related resources with the aim of achieving sustainable economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and the environment.

Ideally, IWRM is a process that protects the environment, fosters sustainable agricultural development and economic growth, promotes democratic participation in governance, and improves human health and the livability of communities, cities and regions. More and more we are seeing water policy and management reflecting the interconnected nature of hydrological resources, and IWRM is now an accepted alternative to the sectoral approach of managing water.

The premise of IWRM is that the variety of uses of water resources is interdependent ~ high irrigation demands and polluted drainage flows result in less freshwater for drinking or industrial use and toxic wastewater pollutes rivers and threatens ecosystems and human health. The examples of the interconnected nature of and complexities associated with water management are enormous. Stay tuned as we develop the IWRM modules which may broadly include catchment management; stakeholder engagement; pollution control; livability; biodiversity and food security.


  • Waterwise Council Training (WA): Waterwise Garden and Irrigation is recommended for grounds keepers and parks, maintenance, customer service & administration staff and Waterwise Water Auditing ~ recommended for building maintenance staff and administrators in this area, is now available online for participants of the Waterwise Council program. For information, email the Water Corporation or phone 08 9420 2130 and you will be provided with instructions to access the training online.
  • Waterwise Council Criteria: Criteria for councils to achieve Waterwise endorsement and to retain endorsement. ICLEI Oceania congratulates the Waterwise Councils endorsed.
  • Waterwise Community Toolkit: The Department of Water has developed a Waterwise Community Toolkit designed to provide land developers, local governments and householders with information on water-use efficiency, water conservation and non-drinking water sources in urban developments and in the community. For enquiries relating to the toolkit email


We are proud to announce the availability of our new book "A Decade of Action 2002-12: The Story of the ICLEI Water Campaign". This book, developed as part of our ten years of action in Australia, highlights some of the key findings from our 127 councils who have participated in the program over this time. Supported by Case Studies and Testimonials, this book showcases the program, our councils past efforts, and explores what we need to do into the future to move towards a more water friendly future.

Available for download.