Blue Mountains City Council has won an award at the 2020 Local Government New South Wales Excellence in the Environment Awards for its new Water Sensitive Blue Mountains Strategic Plan. The plan sets the direction for the way Council manages its water assets into the future.
The award falls within the Innovation in Planning, Policies and Decision Making category of the awards, which recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements by NSW councils in managing and protecting the environment each year.
The Blue Mountains City Council’s forward-thinking plan will help Council to better protect the World Heritage values of the region, manage threats to its drinking water catchments, build resilience to climate change and enhance the liveability of urban areas in the Blue Mountains.
A key vision of the plan is for Council to become a leader in stormwater management, meeting the high expectations of the community for a city within a World Heritage Area.
‘The Water Sensitive Blue Mountains Strategic Plan is a flagship project for Council and we are very proud of this recognition from Local Government New South Wales, particularly as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the World Heritage listing for the Blue Mountains,’ said Rosemary Dillon, CEO of Blue Mountains City Council.
The Water Sensitive Blue Mountains Strategic Plan is the product of broad collaboration by staff across the organisation, engagement with councillors and the community, and a highly productive partnership with WaterNSW and the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.
‘Council acknowledges the significant support provided for this project by Water NSW through its Urban Partnerships Program and the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities,’ Ms Dillon said.
‘WaterNSW and the CRCWSC provided invaluable support for this project, running a series of community and staff visioning workshops, providing technical recommendations for the plan, benchmarking Council’s current performance, identifying barriers and opportunities for change and helping to build staff consensus for a way forward.
‘Thanks to the support of WaterNSW and the CRCWSC, we have an evidence-based blueprint for action with broad community and staff support. This is invaluable in Council’s efforts to shift away from conventional water management towards a ‘water sensitive’ approach,’ she said.
Geoffrey Smith, Program Leader, Healthy Waterways Team at Blue Mountains City Council, added: ‘In the long term, this means greater protection for our water resources, World Heritage Areas, tourism assets and urban amenity’.