Hunter Water supports National Tree Day (29 July 2018), Australia's largest annual tree-planting event, by engaging in bush recovery and tree planting initiatives that strengthen the lower Hunter’s biodiversity, reduce our carbon footprint, and assist to safeguard the quality of the region’s drinking water.
Since 1996, National Tree Day has prompted more than four million people to plant more than 24 million trees and plants. These numbers just keep growing, and Hunter Water is doing its bit.
One of Hunter Water’s initiatives is the ‘Tree Planting for Carbon Offsets program’ to offset more than 80% of the 68,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from the Lower Hunter Recycled Water Initiative over a 20-year period. The program has planted 300,000 trees and shrubs across 160 hectares of land around Grahamstown Dam, Chichester Dam and Irrawang Swamp.
A newer initiative is the Tillegra Riparian Improvement Project, which is establishing a riparian buffer zone on either side of the Williams River using native trees and fencing to prevent erosion and filter runoff, and stop cattle from entering the river. Approximately 60,000 trees will be planted to supplement existing vegetation in 150 hectares of land running along either side of a 24km section of the Williams River. Half of the trees have already been planted. This will help to protect the quality of the water in the Williams River before it is pumped to Grahamstown Dam, Hunter Water's major drinking water storage facility.
David Derkenne, Director of Hunter Water’s Sustainable Wastewater Program, is excited with Hunter Water’s contribution to the environment on this special day: “National Tree Day works as a great reminder of the care that we all as a community must have for our environment, and how this benefits all of us. By planting trees, Hunter Water is able to move closer towards our aspirational goal of becoming carbon neutral by reducing our carbon footprint, and improve the quality of the water in our waterways – which will improve the quality of our drinking water.”