Powells Creek Naturalisation

Sydney Water

Sydney, NSW

Powells Creek Naturalisation project was the second of its kind for Sydney Water. Diona was engaged to undertake detailed design and construction works to deliver a transformed waterway and public space facilities.

Powells Creek Naturalisation Project

The project involved transforming 850 metres of river bank by removing the existing degraded concrete channel initially constructed in the 1930’s and replacing it with gently sloping banks made from sandstone and native plants creating a more natural waterway.

Working with the Community

With the project situated in the close vicinity of residential housing, Diona went above and beyond by engaging with the community and stakeholders to ensure we minimised our local impacts where possible.

Before construction activity began, Diona set about engaging with the local community to provide an overview of the scope, construction methodology, timing and identifying any local concerns and providing tangible solutions. This proactive community engagement approach continued throughout the lifespan of the project, and involved:

  • Establishment of a permanent on-site community hub to provide maps, plans and details on work progress and the unique project design, and to answer any questions
  • Information hubs established at local schools and participation in local community days
  • Door knocking the local community
  • Issuing regular project notifications
  • Listening to community feedback and making site changes to reduce impacts
  • Community BBQ’s held at the work site
  • Community open days
  • Engaging with Councils, Bicycle NSW, Transport for NSW and Department of Fisheries during the design and construction phases.

For Diona to access the concrete banks, a number of shared paths needed to be closed. We worked closely with Bicycle NSW and Transport NSW to map out optimal detour routes and then with local council to upgrade the detour paths to ensure minimal impact on regular users. Diona also identified areas of the existing detour path and proceeded to make upgrades as they became worn to ensure the safety and convenience for cyclists and families walking to the nearby school. As part of this project, Diona constructed over 150 metres of timber boardwalk, 570 metres of asphalt pathways and 500 metres of concrete shared paths.

Innovative design approaches

Powells Creek flows from Strathfield before emptying into Homebush Bay on the Parramatta River and is part of the city’s stormwater network. Being a tidal creek meant that planned works were often deferred. However, the Diona crews demonstrated their commitment to going above and beyond by working extended hours, sometimes into the night where required, to ensure all client expectations were met and the project remained on schedule.

Additionally, Diona introduced an innovative approach by installing reinforced concrete box culverts with flap gates to control the tidal movement which reduced the project timeframe and as a result reduced the impact on the community and provided Sydney Water with a high-quality product ahead of schedule.

The project won the hearts of the local community, and this was evident through a successful opening ceremony and winning of various awards.

Diona continued to maintain the site and ensure the vegetation continues to flourish during the two years following project completion.

Facts and Figures

Some impressive figures for the site were achieved, these include:

  • 30,000 tonnes of excess spoil treated and disposed of
  • 4,500 tonnes of concrete removed from the site and recycled
  • 11,500 tonnes of sandstone boulders imported to the site and placed on the banks
  • 2,558 metres of faced sandstone blocks laid on the banks
  • 42,000 native grasses and shrubs planted
  • 2,500 kilograms of plastic bottles and rubbish removed from creek
  • 150 metres of boardwalk installed
  • 570 metres of new asphalt cycleway installed
  • 500 metres of concrete shared pathway installed.

Image Credits: Photos of finished waterway and designs provided by Sydney Water.

I would like to thank the Diona team for the excellent collaborative delivery of the Powells Creek Naturalisation project. There were significant challenges throughout the project which Diona resolved with Sydney Water and all the relevant stakeholder to ensure an outstanding outcome for the community. The team did an excellent job.
Sydney Water Project Manager


  • Winner of the Stormwater NSW Excellence in Asset Management Awards 2018
  • Winner of the Sydney Water Delivery Management Excellence Award 2018 – Project
  • Runner-up Sydney Water Delivery Management Excellence Award 2018 – Contractor
  • Finalist for the Stormwater Australia National Award for Asset Management 2018
  • Finalist in the NSW CCF Earth Awards 2018


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