Eastern Park and Geelong Botanic Gardens - A history of water use

A water supply is really important to look after the Botanic Gardens and its amazing plant collection.

Established in 1851 the Geelong Botanic Gardens has a fascinating history. An exposed site of 200 acres with Corio Bay frontage and little vegetation has been transformed to become Eastern Park and the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

A ten year drought in Geelong in the 2000s had a severe impact on the Geelong Botanic Gardens. At this time the Botanic Gardens was identified as one of the top 5 water users for the City of Greater Geelong.

Water saving measures have been put in place which respect the high value of the gardens' plant collections.

Eastern Park is not irrigated at all - so it is a dry landscape during the summer season. The trees in the park lost vigour during the drought period and many died through age and lack of rainfall.

A tree planting plan which will see the rejuvenation of the landscape over time requires a water source to establish new trees.

Securing a treated water source

In 2011-2012 Council and the Federal Government jointly funded a substantial water-saving project located in the south east section of Eastern Park. Historic records show that until 1925 this exact site in Eastern Park was an ornamental lake until it was filled in to create a cricket oval.

The functional water storage dam has been built to look like a natural water body. Water in Eastern Park can improve the flora and fauna biodiversity of the area.

This project involved diverting stormwater that was flowing out to Corio Bay. The stormwater comes from an established suburban area of East Geelong with no runoff from industry. Estimated water inflows from the residential catchment are calculated (with average rainfall) at approximately 70 million litres per year. The water will 'turn over' approximately 20 times a year.

The system is designed as a stormwater harvesting and reuse system. Harvested water flows through a rock filled sediment pond.  When this is full it flows over a wall into the dam proper.  The dam holds about 4 million litres and is approximately 7000 square metres in area.

The water is held in the dam and then goes through a treatment process to clean it. The water is then used for establishing and maintaining trees in Eastern Park and irrigating the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Page last updated: Thursday, 24 August 2023