(CNN) – A plan to give Sydney’s harbour a fresh, public face is on track, with an extra 25,000 trees expected to be planted by the 2020-21 season and showers a la the Sydney Opera House opening the next year.
The city’s mayors have allocated $1.28 million for the “Swimmable Sydney project,” which includes rain showers and “puddle-proof” gardens, according to Roads and Maritime Services.
The famed event, presented to celebrate Australia’s centenary of federation, was heralded as the world’s first floating beach, bringing Sydney’s body count from polluted waters down to zero in Sydney Harbour.
Under the plan, RMS says 25,000 trees will be planted in and around the city’s most popular tourist hotspots.
Showers, a new dam
That’s on top of $2.5 million set aside by the city’s local councils for 50 new rain gardens, as well as more than 60 new planting sites in major parks.
“New water storage facilities will be planted to prevent run-off from residential developments, parking lots and roadways that can be discharged to the harbour, allowing them to run off into waterways,” RMS said in a statement.
Once in use, the rain gardens will provide 800,000 liters (38,000 gallons) of clean drinking water annually, providing a greater “buffer zone” for water quality.
The deep-water wetlands will also act as storage to divert water from the sewerage network to nearby mussel beds and waterways.
Dept of “Toadtown” to hit Paradise
Sydney already has a history of flooding, with more than 500,000 of the city’s 3.3 million residents flooding their homes on average every year, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
In 2016, the Department of “Toadtown” released a report estimating the severity of “stormwater outflows” — water released into the streets and rivers.
The worst hit were Waterfall, an area in southern Sydney’s Glebe, where a staggering five million gallons of water was spilled out of a pipe every day.
Other badly affected areas were the Central Coast and Eastern Suburbs in New South Wales’ southeast, with 2000 millimeters (6.5 inches) of rain washing around 435,000 cubic meters (13,000 cubic feet) of water into the streets annually.
Although other major cities in Australia, such as Brisbane, Darwin and Canberra have similar policy projects, it’s the first time that Sydney will be working on a “long-term plan” to prevent tidal flooding from the sea.
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