Oaklands wetland - Families flock to 'water farm'

Find out why families are flocking to Oaklands Wetland and Reserve.

City Limits Magazine Issue 45 April 2014 Front Cover

This article appears in City Limits magazine - Issue 45 - April 2014.

City Limits here

The sound of parrots fill the air, dragonflies skim the water and a family strolls along a walking trail.

This is Oaklands wetland on an autumn evening after it opened to the public in December 2013.

In addition to becoming a haven for plants and wildlife and a popular destination for families, the $9 million wetland – dubbed a ‘water farm’ by visiting students – is on track to capture and clean 400 million litres of stormwater each year – enough to fill 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Treated stormwater will be fed through an 11.5km pipeline to irrigate 31 council reserves, reducing the reliance on mains water.

City Limits April 2014 - Oaklands Wetland 2The wetland covers 2.2 hectares and is the centerpiece of the new 6.6 hectare Oaklands Reserve Precinct.

Troy and Naomi Kelly from Seaview Downs, along with children Mieka and Noah, are one of many families flocking to the site.

“Oaklands wetland is stunning - with the water, plants and bridges, it’s unrecogniseable from the driver training centre where I got my motorbike licence 24 years ago,” Troy said.         

“Walking the wetland has become a regular Sunday activity for us as we love the wildlife, and we’ve even had a go at planting.”

For nine-year-old Mieka, the wetland has brought school lessons into focus.

“We had a class on sustainability at school so it’s good to come here and see what it means,” Mieka said.

“It’s important to recycle water as it keeps nature growing.”

Noah, 11, is a fan of the walking trail.

“I like to ride my scooter, but sometimes walk because the stepping stones are pretty awesome.”

Plants and wildlife

City Limits April 2014 - Oaklands WetlandA migratory water bird, a Siberian Ruddy Stoneturn, flew about 11,000 kms to hatch its eggs on site in summer, while spoonbills, ibis and herons have made the wetland home.

Almost 70,000 plants, including reeds, rushes and saltbush have been planted by council staff, friends groups and volunteers. 

Frogs, fish, ducks and macroinvertebrates – water bugs – are thriving in the ponds and possum and bat boxes are set to be installed in the trees.

Small shrubs, including Happy Wanderer and White Correa, and plants, including Kimberley Hope and Chrysi Katsionis can be found in and around the wetland.

Mayor Felicity-ann Lewis said she was excited the wetland had quickly become a drawcard for the community.  

“I’m excited Oaklands wetland is growing into a biodiversity hot spot where people can experience native wildlife and vegetation and enjoy physical activity,” Dr Lewis said.

“I invite people to visit this wonderful site and see how it’s developing into a facility that will provide our community with water for generations to come.”


More than 500 people have learnt about the wetland’s inner workings through guided tours since it opened in December.

Schools and community groups can book a tour by contacting council’s water resources coordinator, Glynn Ricketts, on 8375 6600.

Oaklands wetland is on Oaklands Road, Oaklands Park and car parking is available off The Parade.

Oaklands wetland – your questions answered

Oaklands wetland is one of only eight stormwater harvesting sites in Adelaide.

Here, we answer some common questions about the site which is expected to be fully operational by 2015.

City Limits April 2014 - Oaklands Wetland 3How does it work?

The wetland has been designed to treat stormwater harvested from the adjacent Sturt River.

Water is collected in a sump beneath the river and piped to a pump station where it is sent to the inlet pond via a gross pollutant trap (GPT).

The inlet pond captures coarse sediments that pass through the GPT and regulates flow into the area of the wetland where aquatic plants are growing via two weirs.

The weirs slow the flow of water so aquatic plants can clean it by removing particles, metals and nutrients over two to three days before it reaches the outlet pond. 

Pumps deliver treated water to aquifers (reservoirs) 100m below ground before it is then fed to reserves via a network of pipes.

When will it be connected to reserves?

Oaklands Park Reserve and Rajah Reserve have already been connected with more set to follow over the coming year.

What is the recreation plaza?

This 0.5 hectare area will be a high quality, landscaped, multi-use space for all ages and abilities. There will be facilities for BMX, skating and scooters and staged construction will begin later this year.

Plans to update the Oaklands Estate Reserve with an adventure play space have also been developed.

View the plans online on the Oaklands Reserve page.

Can I get involved?

The newly formed Friends of Sturt Landcare are looking for volunteers to plant trees, grow seedlings and build nesting boxes.

City Limits April 2014 - Oaklands Wetland PosterFor more information, call Glynn Ricketts at the City of Marion on 8375 6600 or email glynn.ricketts@marion.sa.gov.au

Have schools been involved?

Marion Primary School students Chrsi Kasionis and Kimberly Hope won an iPad for their school after winning a competition to design a banner for the wetland.

Schools and universities also tour the site and use it for research.

Come to BioBlitz

From Friday, 28 August at 12pm to Saturday, 30 August at 12pm you can join in a 24-hour survey to help log the vast array of insects, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and plants at the wetland.

This will be a great way for kids and adults to have fun while learning about nature.

There will be night-time activities and a community festival when the sun comes up.

Experts from UniSA, SA Museum, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges will be there to lend a hand.

Further information and registration details are on the UniSA website.

Picture yourself in the wetland for a chance to win a prize

Take a photo of you, your friends or family enjoying Oaklands wetland and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #OaklandsWetland.

City Limits Magazine

The City Limits Magazine is a community publication that keeps Marion residents in touch with what is happening in their community. It includes information about major projects, council initiatives and events, as well as profiles of community members.

It is published three times a year and distributed to 40,000 residents and businesses in the Marion Council area.