Friday, 19 June 2009

Watering Australia's capital botanic garden


Water for Canberra’s botanic gardens?

In good news for the Australian National Botanic Gardens (it’s been getting a bit of a hammering in the local Canberra press of late), a $3 million pipeline will carry water from Lake Burley Griffin to the botanic gardens.

Some of the concerns raised in recent days were about the impact of the drought on the living botanical collections. The new pipeline will, according to the National Capital Authority, ‘save the gardens thousands of dollars each year’. More water and more money will hopefully help restore some of the garden beds, and of course this is an environmentally responsible way to get water.

Apparently the lake water is shared between ACT and the Commonwealth. Under this new arrangement, ACT will reduce its annual take from the lake, allowing the Authority to increase the amount available to the Australian National Botanic Garden (a Commonwealth funded facility).

Most Australian botanic gardens are looking into alternative water sources, as well as reducing their water use through mulching, smarter planting and selective watering.

At the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain in Sydney we’ve reduced water use by 50% over the last six years, Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens is totally self-reliant (dams and rainwater tanks) and Mount Annan Botanic Garden was awarded a 4-star rating by Sydney Water for the water saving initiatives over the last few years. The next big step is to get the Sydney estates hooked up to a treated storm or sewage water system – by 2016, our bicentenary, at the absolute latest!

[Thanks to ABC Online and Murray Fagg for the Canberra component of this story.]

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