Sustainable infrastructure

Sustainability elements are incorporated by Icon Water into all infrastructure planning to optimise environmental, social and financial outcomes over the long term life of our assets.

Large scale sustainable infrastructure projects

Icon Water is committed to designing, building and operating sustainable assets.  Below demonstrates how we have managed this.

Icon Water is a founding member of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) and was the first organisation in Australia to register an infrastructure project with the ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) tool. 

Two of our projects (enlarging the Cotter Dam and the design of the Googong Water Treatment Plant Chemical Facility project) have followed the ISCA IS methodology to thread sustainability through all areas of their design and construction.  Both projects achieved a Commended rating in August 2014. 

The projects have delivered long term sustainability outcomes for Icon Water.  Examples of sustainable features at the Cotter Dam include:

  • Reuse of resources whenever possible. A million tonnes of aggregate was retained on site to be crushed and used in the construction of the dam wall.  This saved nearly 3 million kilometres in construction vehicle journeys, as well as saving precious materials.
  • 120 Indigenous Grass Trees were relocated from the construction site to nearby areas of the catchment with some plants planted in the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Arboretum.
  • Providing artificial habitat to provide shelter for threatened fish species and secure the survival of the last viable population of the endangered Macquarie Perch in the ACT. 
  • In consultation with the local Yurung Dhaura indigenous working group, a nursery of bush medicine and traditional food species was planted.
  • Any aboriginal artefacts discovered in the Cotter dam location were returned to country.
  • Local recreation areas were improved - the Cotter Avenue recreation area was upgraded and a Cotter Dam Heritage Discovery Trail was created together with a dam viewing platform.  A specific environmental education program for the dam was developed for 6-18 year olds with around 1,600 pupils already completed the program.
  • All carbon emissions associated with the construction and operation of the project are being offset through carbon forestry offsets.
  • Solar powered traffic lights were used to control construction-related traffic, car-pooling occurred among site staff, using bio-diesel where possible for onsite construction activities were examples of emission reduction programs.
  • Approximately 50,000 litres of potable water per month was saved during construction.
  • An advanced septic system was designed to fit neatly into a 6 metres shipping container for ease of transportation. No other septic system available on the market had the capabilities of simply being lifted onto a flat-bed truck for transportation to another project, ready for operation. This concept can now be reused in other construction projects worldwide.
  • Injection of approximately $88 million into the local economy through the engagement of local employees during the project construction.

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Sustainability Scorecard

To ensure sustainability is fully embedded into all of our infrastructure projects, we have developed our own infrastructure sustainability scorecard for in-house use. This easy to use, practical tool is integrated into the preliminary planning process of our capital works to ensure all planning options assess financial, social, environmental and cultural impacts and opportunities before being delivered. 

All project managers apply the tool and assess the sustainability of different project options at the initiation of a project. The sustainability score for each option provides the project manager with an understanding of which project option provides the most sustainable outcome for Icon Water to pursue.