More than a sewerage management system

Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek started as a sewerage management project to address wet weather sewerage spills in the middle Dandenong Creek catchment. Further investigations along this section of the creek revealed deeper issues, which, if not addressed, would be harmful to the health of the creek as well as to the community, flora and fauna that live here.

The multi-award winning five-year pilot (Phase 1) ran from 2013-2018 and focused on improving natural amenity, uncontrolled sewage spills, the reintroduction of the threatened dwarf galaxias fish species, and preventing pollution run off from industrialised areas.

The following video is a great way of catching up on what the project is about and what was achieved in phase 1.

Phase 1 proved what could be achieved when we work together, with the community and businesses, local councils, Traditional Owners and state agencies. It also showed that there is still much more to be done.

Key focus areas for Phase 2

Phase 2 aims to improve biodiversity, amenity and habitat connectivity along the middle Dandenong Creek catchment, from Bayswater North to Wheelers Hill. It's also focused on reducing pollution from industrial sites in this area and improving sewerage compliance. The highlighted areas on the map below show where we are focusing our efforts for Phase 2.

For more detailed project information check out the maps on the Biodiversity and Pollution pages.

The evolution of Dandenong Creek

Dandenong Creek meanders for 53 km in Melbourne's south east. Bubbling from springs high up in the Dandenong Ranges, the waterway travels through forests and grasslands, urban and industrial areas, and billabongs and swamplands before flowing into Port Phillip Bay.

The creek and its surrounding environment has long been an important habitat to many native plants and animals. But with population growth, urbanisation, industrial development and climate change, the catchment’s natural environment is coming under increasing threat. This includes loss of habitat, declining species, increased pollution and poor water and soil quality.

The middle section of Dandenong Creek has undergone the most change over the last 200 years, since Europeans first arrived in the area.

Why are we focusing on the middle Dandenong Creek catchment?

In early settler days the catchment saw extensive land-clearing, deforestation, and draining of swamplands. Later, in the 1960s, the Dandenong Valley Authority replaced the creek’s winding flows, meanders and billabongs with straightened channels and underground pipes. While this may have helped reduce flooding in a growing urban environment, it also disrupted the creek’s natural flow, in turn impacting animal and plant habitat and biodiversity.

Through 'daylighting' construction works in 2017-2018 we replaced a section of this piped waterway with an open, flowing channel that more closely resembled the original shape of the creek to improve habitats and opportunities for revegetation.

As manager for waterways and sewerage across the Port Phillip and Westernport region, Melbourne Water has an important role to play in limiting further decline along this important and much-loved waterway.