Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project: Transforming urban landscapes through water harvesting

Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project: Transforming urban landscapes through water harvesting

Project Description

Located in inner-city Sydney, the Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project has been transformed to post-industrial wasteland into vital green infrastructure for a rapidly expanding city. Led by Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership, the project fuses design, art, science and ecology to create a dynamic city parkland, integrating landfill remediation, recreation, enhanced biodiversity, and civil infrastructure, with advanced urban water re-use systems.

The project:

  • Is the City of Sydney's largest stormwater harvesting and re-use facility
  • Harvests 840 million liters of stormwater annually
  • Is designed to reduce the City of Sydney's drinking water demand by 10% before 2030
  • Revitalises 40 hectares of former landfill site in wetlands, playgrounds, wildlife habitat, and recreational areas.


How will Sydney cope as its population swells to eight million people by the middle of the century? The Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project addresses this enduring tension between growth and liveability. With conservation, sustainability and functionality in mind, an expert team has created a new prototype for urban parklands.

As Sydney's inner-city population and industry continue to expand, the City of Sydney was faced with an increasingly universal challenge: how to increase and improve green amenity and biodiversity in a densifying built environment. Comprising 44 hectares, Sydney Park covers more than 10 per cent of the coveted inner-city suburb of Alexandria. A former brickworks, then landfill site, the park acts as a partial buffer between industry and encroaching residential development.


Built in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, the project is integral to Sustainable Sydney 2030; which aims to meet 10 per cent of the city's water demand through local water capture and reuse. The City of Sydney engaged in a team of designers, engineers, water technologists, ecologists, and artists to deliver a complex solution in response to Sustainable Sydney 2030. Given the site's magnitude, the team focused on water harvesting and re-use to ensure waterway health and to future-proof water supply for the site. The project has improved circulation of water through the ponds and wetlands, diverting 840 mega liters per annum of local stormwater for treatment and reuse, renewing ecosystems and creating greener and more functional public amenity.


A key feature of the park is Turpin + Crawford's 'Water Falls' installation, which helps highlight the function and processes of water harvesting, creating immersive opportunities for interactive play and education. The water 'exhaust fans' celebrate the transfer of water from bio-remediation 'paddies' to the lagoons, playing on the spirit of water and its interactions with topography, form, surfaces and plant life. A new network of tracks and trails direct users to junctions and open spaces along with bio-retention zones, bringing people closer to nature and wildlife, while conveying the park's water story.

Design Impact

As Sydney's largest water harvesting project to date, the project has successfully reduced water useable, through the capacity to capture and clean the equivalent of 340 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water per year. The park's flora and fauna are flourishing, with improved recreation options, visual appeal and enhanced biodiversity increasing the park's value. A landmark test-case for the large-scale future-proofing of our urban landscapes, the project demonstrates the potential of sustainable water use.

Thirty million liters a year of harvested water is now recycled for improved pond and wetlands circulation, irrigation of areas and to supply the park's nursery operations. Impact of water harvesting and re-use already extends beyond the limits of Sydney Park, with non-drinkable water supplied to truck washing at the neighborhood City of Sydney Depot. The project intends to expand this function further, with plans to supply recycled water to neighboring industry and to large scale, urban development redevelopment projects now in planning.

Time Schedule

Design and Documentation: 12 months
Construction: 15 months


UK Civic Trust Award 2018
UK Civic Trust Special Award for Sustainability 2018
The American Architecture Prize Landscape Architecture of the Year Award (Platinum) 2016
Australia Prize in Urban Design Award for Major Built Infrastructure 2016
AILA (National Awards) Infrastructure Award 2016
AILA (NSW Awards ) Excellence Award 2016
Sydney Design Awards 2015
Good Design Awards 2016
Sustainability Awards 2016 - Outdoor Structure 

-33.907696, 151.1848784

City of Sydney (Client)
Design Landscapes (Lead Contractor)
Alluvium (Water & Environment)
Turpin + Crawford Studio (Public Art)
Dragonfly Environmental (Ecology)
Partridge & Arup (Structural)
Lighting, Art & Science (Lighting & Electrical)
HydroPlan (Irrigation)
SESL Australia (Soils Investigation)
A. D. Envirotech Australia (Environmental Management)
Año de concepción del proyecto
April 2013
Año de finalización de la obra
October 2015
Coste (€/m²) ($/m²) (€/ha) ($/ha)
$AUD 11.3 million (total)
Categoria premio
16,000 sqm (total size)
Tipo de cliente
Empresa privada
Nombre cliente
Mike Horne (Turf Design Studio)
Empresa constructora
Design Landscapes
416 Sydney Park Road
Coordenadas UTM
Latitude: -33.907696 Longitude: 151.1848784
Ciudad / Emplazamiento
Alexandria 2015
New South Wales