Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Senator the Hon Kate Lundy

Senator for the ACT

Secure water future for Australia's National Botanic Gardens

Joint media release
24 March 2011

The Australian National Botanic Gardens will be irrigated with water from Lake Burley Griffin, saving up to 170 million litres of Canberra's drinking water each year.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, and ACT Senator Kate Lundy this morning turned on the tap for a new $2.9 million pipeline which will draw the Gardens' irrigation requirements from the Lake.

The Senators said the two-year project secures a long-term water supply for the Gardens' magnificent living collection of plants, fulfilling the Government's 2007 commitment to use Lake Burley Griffin as a sustainable source of water for the Gardens.

"The project will see up to 170 million litres of water delivered from Lake Burley Griffin to the Gardens each year - meaning the Gardens will no longer rely on Canberra's drinking water supply to sustain their living collection. It will also allow regular irrigation even in times of tough water restrictions," Senator Farrell said.

When this project was launched in December 2009, Canberra was experiencing drought and water restrictions were in place. Water storage levels in Canberra are now at 100 per cent capacity, for the first time since 1996, but Australia's climatic cycle means drought will eventually return and this project will secure water for the Gardens' living collection over the long term.

Senator Lundy said the new water system would help ensure the world-class horticultural team at the Gardens would be able to maintain their vibrant array of native plants for generations of Australians to enjoy.

"The Australian National Botanic Gardens is a much loved Canberra institution and education resource and continues to be a crucial part of Australia's conservation efforts," Senator Lundy said.

"I am proud that our Gardens are leading the field in low water use and sustainable horticultural practices. Other water efficiency measures introduced in the Gardens include computerised automatic irrigation systems."

This project has been jointly funded from the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns program, a key component the Government's long-term Water for the Future initiative, and the Director of National Parks capital works program.

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