Managing a water sensitive city within a World Heritage area

The Blue Mountains is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations this year.

Blue Mountains City Council's healthy waterways officer Gillian Fitzgerald testing our waterways.

Blue Mountains City Council's healthy waterways officer Gillian Fitzgerald testing our waterways.

Throughout the month of August, Blue Mountains City Council is marking this important milestone by showcasing the ways in which it protects one of our most precious resources - water.

The living waters of the Blue Mountains have sustained, nurtured and been cared for by countless generations of Darug and Gundungurra people, and continue to give life to millions in the Greater Sydney region.

As Major Mark Greenhill says: "Blue Mountains waterways are some of the most beautiful, iconic and highly valued in Australia. They sustain a unique diversity of animals and plants, hold great cultural and spiritual significance to Traditional Owners, and provide huge opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism.

"However, the combined impacts of urban development and climate change have put our waterways at risk and one of our key priorities in being a sustainable city, is to effectively and responsibly manage our water resources."

The predicted escalation in droughts, bushfires and severe storms will put more pressure on drinking water supplies and water-dependent ecosystems into the future. More extreme temperature days will also increase the heat island effect in urban centres.

To address these challenges, Council developed theWater Sensitive Blue Mountains Strategic Plan in 2019 which is a blueprint for water management for the next 10 years. This plan has four main components: water efficiency, water reuse, best practice stormwater management and a water-literate community.

Council also monitors the health of our waterways annually, at more than 50 sites from Lapstone to Mount Wilson with findings recently released in the Waterways Health Snapshot 2020.

Council is also rehabilitating more than 130 creek and bushland sites across the city and has a number of large scale and long-running restoration programs which include conserving the rare and endangered Blue Mountains swamps (otherwise known as hanging swamps) which provide essential habitat to several Threatened Species, such as the Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly.

Find out more about council's water conservation and restoration projects at: https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/WHA/Water.