First Creek Wetland

This project is now complete.

Located in the Adelaide Botanic Garden, First Creek Wetland is part of a stormwater recycling system that will eventually supply all of the gardens’ irrigation needs.

The wetland was created to harvest, treat and store water from First Creek, helping to prevent flooding further downstream in the botanic garden, which used to occur about 3-4 times every year. And the unsightly sediment and rubbish which accumulated contributed to poor water quality.

The system aims to produce 100 million litres of treated water per year, and was designed to create ecosystems through an interesting range of plants that are beautiful, highly accessible and can be used for educational purposes. The plants also take up nutrients, and trap sediments and other pollutants before the water flows out to sea.

It was designed as three sections:

  1. The water is slowed down so the sediment in it settles on the bottom.
  2. A macrophyte pond includes plants which remove nutrients (macrophytes are plants that grow with their roots in the soil under the water).
  3. Cleaned water is injected into an underground aquifer before being pumped into a balancing storage pond, where it sits until it’s needed for irrigation.

The 2.5 hectare wetland provides a home for over 90 different plant species, mostly native, and a variety of water birds.

It opened to the public in 2013, and is used for educational purposes, with an average of 20,000 students from kindergarten to year 12 visiting each year. 

A sunken amphitheatre, observation deck, bridge, stepping stones, trails and interpretive signage through and around the wetland enable visitors to interact with the wetland, and the education trails are all based on the Australian Curriculum.

Related links

Lead agency

Botanic Gardens of South Australia


Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges