In Summary

A water management system capable of delivering and managing flooding of the Hattah lakes in Victoria’s north-east has received the Swinburne University Excellence in Sustainable Design Award.

The award was presented at the United Nations Association of Australia Word Environment Day Awards, of which Swinburne has been a sponsor of for the past three years.

The Goulburn-Murray Water Hattah Lakes Restoration Project is a ten year collaborative project that enables the Hattah Lakes to provide important habitat for a variety of fish, frogs and waterbirds, including migratory birds from as far away as Siberia.

Swinburne Dean of Design, Professor Scott Thompson-Whiteside, said the project underpinned exactly what the Swinburne Excellence in Sustainable Design award was all about.

“Goulburn-Murray Water has demonstrated that through good design and planning, an innovative and long-term solution can help ensure that the Hattah Lakes remain as an important part of the Australian environment,” Professor Scott Thompson-Whiteside said.

The Hattah Lakes rely on regular flooding to maintain a healthy ecological environment. However, river regulation and a drier climate have resulted in significantly-reduced frequency and duration of flooding which has impacted the lakes water levels.

The Hattah lakes project addressed this issue with improvements to the water management infrastructure, including environmental regulators and a pumping station, which in turn can create regular flooding of the lakes.

Goulburn-Murray Water Projects Officer, Nichelle Schrader, said that Goulburn-Murray Water and its partners were honoured to have been awarded the Swinburne Excellence in Sustainable Product Design Award.

“We are delighted that Swinburne University of Technology selected Hattah Lakes Restoration Project for its design and reduced human impacts and its ability to restore a sustainable balance to a Ramsar wetland that has been significantly altered by human activity.”   

The Swinburne Excellence in Sustainable Design Award recognises designs and designers that embody holistic life cycle thinking and that can demonstrate the capacity to reduce human impact on the natural environment and/or encourage sustainable behaviour change. 

This is the third year that Swinburne has sponsored the awards, with previous winners including the Braemar “Super-Six” Ducted Gas Heater and Brightgreen.

Each year, in support of the Word Environment Day Awards, the United Nations Association of Australia recognises innovative and outstanding environmental programs and initiatives from across Australia, as well as the important work of Australian environmental leaders.