The City of Sydney voted unanimously on Monday (June 23) to support the expansion of the ‘Leaky Drains’ program from Chippendale community group Sustainable Chippendale. The motion was tabled by Liberal Councillor Christine Forster and received cross-party support from Cr Linda Scott (Labor) and Irene Doutney (Greens).
The Leaky Drains initiative is part of the Sustainable Communities Plan, which aims to make Chippendale “Australia’s first sustainable suburb”. Leaky Drains takes stormwater run-off from the roofs of houses and business premises and uses it to irrigate kerbside trees and plants.
“The Leaky Drains project can be implemented by the community at very low cost and offers a sustainable way to prevent stormwater from polluting our waterways by diverting it for use in street gardens,” said Cr Forster.
“Properly irrigated kerbside trees and plants provide more shade, which helps cool our streets and reduce energy use for air-conditioning.”
The Leaky Drains initiative has been trialled over the last seven years in an independent pilot scheme which has since captured over 4 million litres of stormwater in kerbside gardens. The Chippendale-wide expansion is expected to cost just $10,000 and capture 50 million litres of stormwater each year.
“The Greens on council have been strong supporters of Chippendale’s Sustainable Streets project and believe there are many sensible and cheap ideas contained in the plan,” said Cr Doutney.
Next on the agenda for the group is their cool roads plan, which aims to lower the temperature in Chippendale by two degrees by 2020 by using pale, reflective surfaces instead of black tar on Chippendale roads. The first cool road has been under trial this June.
Property owners who agree to the installation of a Leaky Drain may be rewarded for maintaining it with a small rates rebate if a proposal to incentivise the program is considered.