Located at Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Cross Road, Netherby, Urrbrae Wetland is a living example of what can be achieved when local and state government and the community work together toward common goals.
In July 1993 the City of Mitcham and the Urrbrae Agricultural High School were independently investigating a wetland project in the Urrbrae catchment.
The Council was seeking to alleviate a long standing flooding problem along Cross Road, while the school wanted to address regular flooding on its farmland where the Wetland is now situated and broaden its environmental studies curriculum.
Unley and other nearby suburbs were part of the local Unley swamp which flooded regularly until the 1920's when storm water pipe systems were placed under Cross Road. These pipes deliver the stormwater into the sea at Glenelg.
A joint working party was created to prepare a concept plan for a teaching wetland which would also serve as a stormwater detention basin. Two major stormwater drainage pipes (approximately one metre in diameter) become one at the north western edge of the Urrbrae wetland site. One of the pipes brings stormwater from the southern part of the catchment under Balham walk while the second pipe delivers stormwater from the eastern catchment (Urrbrae and Netherby suburbs) under Cross Road.
The Urrbrae Wetlands in 1997
These two pipes become one pipe which is only one metre wide.
Due to the increasing areas of hard surfaces such as roads, homes, brick paving and cement 'infill' of Adelaide suburbs, increasing volumes of 'stormwater' is created. The collected 'stormwater' from both pipes to form one pipe causes the single pipe to fill up. The excess water then lifted the stormwater inspection holes along Cross Road causing flooding of houses and businesses as well as causing traffic chaos.
The proposal to construct the Urrbrae detention basin that would store the excess water to reduce the volume of stormwater under Cross Road was adopted by the City of Mitcham and Urrbrae Agricultural High School.
Work on the project commenced in June 1996 and finished in December 1996.
The Wetland and facilities were officially launched by Premier John Olsen on 11 April 1997.
The Urrbrae Wetlands in 2009
For more information visit http://www.urrbraewetlandlc.org/