Retarding Basins


Melbourne Water works with council to
manage a world-class drainage system. This drainage system helps transport and
in some cases cleans the city’s stormwater that falls from
the sky and runs off roads and other hard surfaces. Our drainage system is separate to
our sewerage system which transports sewerage from our homes
to the sewage treatment plants. Retarding basins are an important feature
of the drainage system that helps to reduce flooding. They’re
designed to catch heavy rainfall and hold in reserved low-lying area of
land. This is known as a basin and is a
better alternative to overloading underground drains and
potentially flooding properties. Melbourne water manages over 200
retarding basins across Melbourne. They are critical in built up areas.
Pavements, driveways and other hard surfaces create
more runoff meaning the water is less likely to soak
into the ground. Some basins also provide other benefits
to the community. When they are not full of water they can be
recreational areas for walking and playing. Other retarding basin sites are also
listed the sites have biological significance. That’s when a site has important
vegetation, which provides habitat for vulnerable or
endangered species of reptiles, frogs or birds. Retarding basins are designed
to meet national standards, protecting communities living near or
downstream from them. Sometimes maintenance works are required
to ensure their safety. Like pulling out trees because the roots
can weaken the levee wall or pulling debris out of the basin
outlet. For more information about Melbourne Water visit

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