First Creek Wetland, in Adelaide Botanic Garden’s south-east corner, helps the community learn about wetlands – how they work and why they’re important for maintaining healthy environments, especially urban ones. The garden exposes visitors to new plants and a function of plants they may never have considered.
First Creek Wetland also forms an important part of the water security plan and long-term sustainability of Adelaide Botanic Garden. By 2022 it’s hoped First Creek Wetland will be able to recover up to 100ML of water a year from the underground aquifer - enough to irrigate the entire Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Following rainfall a small amount of stormwater – a maximum of 25 litres per second – is diverted from First Creek (which begins in Cleland Wildlife Park and merges into Adelaide’s River Torrens) as it enters the Garden, and it’s treated through the wetland via a series of purification processes. The water’s then stored in and subsequently recovered from an underlying aquifer.
According to our hydrometric network website, the average annual flow at the Botanic Gardens' First Creek hydrometric station is 2,700 ML (2.7 gigalitres/annum), and the scheme will harvest up to 7.5% of the average annual First Creek flow.
The collection holds about 20,000 plants, many of which are Australian natives. Some are rare and endangered plants from South Australia, which have been grown from seeds collected by our South Australian Seed Conservation Centre.
Pathways and viewing platforms surround and intersect the First Creek Wetland (which also highlights how beautiful wetlands are, on top of their importance) and educational signs and installations explain the wetland and aquifer system and the importance of wetlands. There is universal access to the viewing deck.