Hydro-Zoning & Eco-Zoning

Careful management of the City of South Perth’s public open space (POS) and the conservation of ground water is an essential response to a drying climate.

The City’s parks and reserves are being progressively hydro-zoned and eco-zoned to conserve water. The aim is to provide high quality facilities for the local and wider community that support amenity, sport, recreation and biodiversity outcomes. 

Hydro-zoning

Hydro-zoning is the practice of grouping types of vegetation into categories with similar water requirements to enable more efficient and responsible use of irrigation water. When designing and managing POS, the different water needs of turf, lawns, trees and low water-use plants are taken into account. 

Eco-zoning

Eco-zoning is the conversion of existing turfed areas into native garden areas. Ultimately this allows for minimal water to support an area that once sustained turf, saving large volumes of water.

The eco-zoned areas of easy maintenance water-wise and local native plants will generally be mulched with high quality City-produced organic mulch. These areas enable the introduction of biodiversity and aesthetic variety into parks and reserves, while reducing water use.
The newly eco-zoned areas within the City are designed to become self-sufficient within one to two years of installation, at which time the native garden areas will not receive irrigation at all.

Why the city is hydro-zoning and eco-zoning

The South West of Western Australia is experiencing drier conditions and most predictions expect this trend to continue and potentially worsen. The City of South Perth, like all local government authorities in the Perth metropolitan area, now has to account for its groundwater use. The City is provided an allocation by the Department of Water and has to operate within that allocation while still maintaining parks and reserves for the community to use and enjoy. Hydro-zoning and eco-zoning are now widely accepted techniques to enable local governments to save water while still maintaining areas of irrigated turf in parks and reserves.

How the City is hydro-zoning

As a result of the introduction of hydro-zones, different water application rates can be applied to various parts of a park dependent on use. Adequate water is provided, while reducing the overall reliance on irrigation.

Zones include:

  • High quality turf on all active playing surfaces (sports fields) 
  • Irrigated and unirrigated lawn areas for passive recreation such as picnic and play areas
  • The replacement of some lawn areas with water-wise and local native plants. 

Recent projects

To date, the program has included implementing new irrigation regimes for reserves, incrementally upgrading irrigation systems when they are due for replacement and introducing hydro-zoning and eco-zoning techniques. The City gained Waterwise Council status from the Water Corporation in 2012, on the strength of its ongoing commitment to the program. 

A number of reserves have been identified as part of the hydro-zoning program. The reserves will be upgraded gradually over the course of the five-year program. Upgrades will include:

  • Irrigation system upgrade
  • High quality turf on all active playing surfaces (sports fields)
  • Irrigated and unirrigated lawn areas for passive recreation such as picnic and play areas
  • The replacement of some lawn areas with water-wise and local native plants, including perimeters and street verges and mulched garden beds planted with waterwise trees and local plants
  • Design for access and inclusion, including path networks
  • Tree and garden planting to increase biodiversity and strategic shade cover.

Reserves currently in the hydro-zoning program

Bradshaw Conochie Reserve, Manning

Isabella Craigie Reserve, Manning

Shaftesbury Reserve, Kensington

Bill McGrath Reserve, Kensington

David Vincent Reserve, Kensington

Mackie Street Reserve, Kensington

Careful management of our POS is an essential step towards achieving the reduction and efficient conservation of ground water, while providing high quality facilities to the local and wider community.

For further information regarding water conservation and hydro-zoning, refer to the Water Corporation and the Department of Water websites.