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Living Water Workbees


About The Program

The EcoCentre and Werribee River Association partnered in the Living Water Workbees Project from 2017-2020 to activate community volunteering and stormwater infrastructure in the Elster Creek and Werribee River catchments. We worked with local community action groups and schools to clean-up waterways and install water tanks and rain gardens to improve environmental flow and create habitat for healthy waterways.

We converted volunteer hours into $25/hr rebate credits that can be redeemed for the installation of rainwater tanks and rain gardens at local schools, homes and businesses. Schools and home owners committed to install rainwater tanks or rain gardens, took action to care for catchment, and earned rebate credits towards their stormwater infrastructure, which will provide perpetual positive impacts on our waterways. Each school was eligible for up to $20,000 and homes and businesses $5,000 in rebates for installation of multi-use tanks to flush toilets, irrigate gardens and enhance biodiversity with rain gardens.

Teachers and parent volunteers incorporated catchment care into curriculum activities and organised whole school workbees to foster stewardship for waterways; and volunteers at community workbees donated credits to local schools to help them achieve their rebate goals.

– 12 workbee partners, 8,600 volunteers, 13,500 hours of catchment care
– 13 tonnes of litter removed, 20,500 plants installed
– $121,000 rebates distributed to 10 sites (9 schools, 1 resident)
– 2.6 million liters of annual water diversion capacity achieved

Carranballac College, Caulfield Primary School, Elwood College, Gardenvale Primary School, St Columba’s Primary School Elsternwick, St Joseph’s Elsternwick Primary School, St Kevin’s Primary School Ormond, Wyndham Central College, and a resident in St Kilda.

A multitude of micro-plastic pollution, often from single-use consumer items, has escaped attention for decades. The Baykeeper of Port Phillip Bay has created a new data-sheet that incorporates the best aspects of existing methods allowing data input to the National Marine Debris Database. It’s a simple single page that allows for record of an array of items that cause long term harm to the environment. The surveys have been designed to measure the extent of the problem and identify common plastic pollutants that need to be eliminated for example, straws, plastic spoons, bottle tops, coffee cup lids. Local litter audits and investigations on beaches and streets in stormwater catchments around the Bay will identify litter hotspots and inform local litter reduction strategies. The transect method will primarily allow schools, corporates and community groups around the bay to quickly capture data (4 people could do 2 transects in under an hour) and accurately repeat surveys of the same site, resulting in a clear indication of whether specific user items are increasing or decreasing. This information will be used to guide local management and litter prevention plans.

Love Our Street (3184, 3185, 3186, 3162, 3030), Beach Patrol (3182, 3183, 3030), Elwood Plogging Group, Friends of Elster Creek, Earthcare St Kilda, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.
A huge thank you to our partners who tirelessly care for our local streets and waterways!

– Finalist: Premier’s Sustainability Awards 2020
– Finalist: Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards 2020

A partnership project with the Werribee River Association.
This project was funded by the Victorian Government from 2017-2020 through the Port Phillip Bay Fund.

"I loved spending time outdoors with the team and helping a great cause, plus learning more about our environment and penguins."

- Victoria, Corporate Volunteer from ANZ

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.