Our Living River 10-Year Anniversary

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10-Years of Our Living River

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Our Living River mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

Launched by the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) in 2014, the mission set an ambitious goal to improve the health of the river and its catchment to enable swimming at selected sites. It also aimed to conserve important ecological areas and increase habitat for wildlife.

The Our Living River project established a new vision, purpose, and mission:

• Our vision: We believe Sydney deserves and world-class river
• Our purpose: To make Parramatta River a living river.
• Our mission: To make Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

The project’s first milestone came with the launch of the Lake Parramatta swim site, which reopened after being closed for more than 70 years.

In 2018, the PRCG released the Parramatta River Masterplan: Duba, Budu, Barra – ten steps to a living river that outlines the steps needed to achieve a healthy, liveable, and sustainable river catchment.

In 2022, City of Canada Bay Council opened Bayview Park Baths in Concord – the first site on the river to be opened in more than 50 years. More swim sites are planned to open in the next couple of years at Putney, Bedlam Bay in Gladesville and Callan Point in Lilyfield.

The project is the culmination of years of planning, research, and collaboration with our many partners and the community to address different aspects of ecological and waterway health, including riparian protection, biodiversity, and litter prevention. It has also involved working with local and state government agencies to improve stormwater and wastewater management, water sensitive urban design, and land-use planning.

A range of celebratory events is being held throughout the year.


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Our Living River 10th Anniversary Community Day

This event, held at Bayview Park on 24 March, provided an opportunity for PRCG partners, supporters, and the community to come together to enjoy the beauty of the Parramatta River and recognise the considerable efforts of all those who have contributed to improving its health.

There was a range of community and environmental stalls and activities on offer. Attendees tried their hand at kayaking, learned more about the bar-tailed godwit and other shorebirds, took a dip in the newest swim site on the river, or just relaxed and enjoyed the free entertainment and BBQ.

The Parramatta River Catchment Group also officially launched the research document, First Nations Peoples of the Parramatta River and surrounding region, published in late 2023. Visitors viewed the recent upgrades to the park and cultural interpretive designs by Dharug artist Leanne Watson.

Parramatta River Boat Tour (for government representatives)

Date: Thursday, 2 May 2024
Time: 3:00pm-5:30pm
Departs: Meadowbank Wharf
Host Agencies: PRCG and Sydney Water

This tour will provide guests with an opportunity to cruise along the beautiful Parramatta River where they will see remnants of the river’s industrial past and examples of its vibrant future. They will visit Bayview Park Baths in Concord that opened in 2022 as well as other sites planned to open later this year.

Speakers will talk about the PRCG’s journey over the last decade to improve the health and liveability of the river catchment, and the value of activating the foreshore for community recreation. Guests will also hear about the importance of multi-agency collaboration that has allowed us to ‘turn the tide’ and take a more holistic and regional approach to waterway management.

  • Nadia Young, Coordinator, Parramatta River Catchment Group: Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome.
  • Councillor Mark Drury (Inner West Council), PRCG Chair: PRCG’s Masterplan to make the river swimmable again and the importance of long-term collaboration to achieve real outcomes for the community.
  • Paul Higham, Head of Western Sydney Development, Sydney Water: Sydney Water’s role as a key delivery partner to help implement the Masterplan, the significant investment to improve the wastewater network, and the RiverWatch program.
  • Fiona Morrison, Commissioner, Open Space, Department of Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure: the success of the Places to Swim program and work of the PRCG in advocating for the Parramatta River.

Guests will also hear from representatives from Canada Bay, Hunter’s Hill and Ryde Councils about the work involved in planning and building their swim sites.

Other planned events

Check back regularly for information on other 10th anniversary events being held later in the year:
• Bedlam Bay swim site launch (date TBC)
• Putney Park swim site launch (date TBC)
• Riverfest (21-22 September)

10 years of Our Living River in review

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The Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) is an alliance of councils, state government agencies, and community groups. In 2014, the PRCG launched the ‘Our Living River’ mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

Over the past decade, the PRCG has worked closely with its member organisations and the community on projects to improve water quality and stormwater management, reduce litter, enhance biodiversity, and raise community awareness and involvement.

Achievements and milestones over the past 10 years include:

Two swim sites opened

The first at Lake Parramatta, North Parramatta in 2015, and the second at Bayview Park, Concord in 2022.

For more information, click here.

Three swim sites under preparation

The sites include:

  • Bedlam Bay, Gladesville
  • Callan Point, Lilyfield
  • Putney Park, Putney

For  more information, click here.

Six industry awards


  • Highly Commended Award, 2017 NSW Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards in the Natural Environment protection and Enhancement On-Ground Category
  • Finalists, 2018 Australasian Riverprize
  • Highly Commended Award, 2018 NSW Stormwater Awards
  • 2019 Stormwater NSW Award for our Masterplan
  • Certificate of Commendation in the ‘Great Community Collaboration’ category, 2019 Greater Sydney Planning Awards
  • 2021 National Stormwater Australia Award
PRCG Stakeholders gather at community day

More than 40 partner agencies

These include financial partner and key contributor agencies, community groups and councils from across the catchment area plus state government agencies.

To view our partner agencies, click here.

‘Get the Site Right’ launch

An education and compliance campaign to reduce runoff launched in 2016.

For more information on the program, click here.

More then 300 events held

PRCG held more than 300 stakeholder events throughout the catchment area, including community events, information sessions, and workshops to progress the Our Living River mission.

RiverWatch Program launched

Launch of the River Watch water quality monitoring program in 2019.

Parramatta River Masterplan launched

Launch of the Parramatta River Masterplan: Duba, Budu, Barra – Ten Steps to a Living River in 2019.

The Masterplan Dashboard provides regular updates on the progress made in each of the ‘ten steps’ that support the delivery of our mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

To view the Masterplan, click here.

$3 million plus in funding

More than $3 million in government funding for various projects to progress the Our Living River mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

For more information on our mission, click here.

Riverkeeper Program launched

The Riverkeeper Program established in 2016 to support community-led environmental activities – funded by the NSW Government and supported by Landcare NSW.

For more information on the program, click here.

Regional Litter Prevention Strategy released

Regional Litter Prevention Strategy for Greater Sydney released in 2022.

The development of the RLPS is being undertaken in close collaboration with the three pilot councils to ensure valuable information is included and gaps are identified to help form a clear framework and pathway for embedding litter reduction activities into council policy, strategy and programs.

For more information, click here.

Change Makers Course created

Change Makers course for local residents in the Parramatta River Catchment held in 2021.

The course was awarded Highly Commended in Division C – Communications, Education and Empowerment category of the Local Government NSW’s ‘Excellence in the Environment’ Awards.

For more information, click here.

Designing With Country Framework workshops held

Funded by Metro Greenspace, released in 2022.

The first of our workshops for our Designing with Country project was held on 9 March.

Aboriginal community members and representatives from some of our member councils and other agencies joined us for a half-day Walk on Country at several sites in the lower Parramatta River catchment.

For more information, click here.