State of the Environment Report

16 October 2013

Carbon emissions from AlburyCity’s buildings and operations are at the lowest levels since recording began. Meanwhile, the Albury community is using 41% less water than in 1997-98. 

They’re just some of the key findings contained in the 2013 State of the Environment report which was tabled at this week’s Planning and Environment Committee Meeting.

The reports ranks Albury’s performance in seven key categories:

  • Atmosphere
  • Water
  • Land and Biodiversity
  • Built Environment
  • Waste Management
  • Energy Management
  • Heritage

AlburyCity’s carbon emissions in 2012-13 totalled 89,617 tonnes, compared with 111,000 tonnes in 2010-11. The 23% reduction means that emissions are at their lowest levels since recording began in 2007 when AlburyCity recorded 92,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Water use is also trending downwards. In 1997-98, the Albury community used 12,153 megalitres of water. In 2012-13, water use had dropped to 7,164 megalitres, a 41% reduction.

The report showed that both Council and Albury residents have made significant progress towards a more sustainable environment, according to Committee Chair, Cr Daryl Betteridge.

“The water conservation message has really resonated with residents and businesses, and it’s great to see our whole community actively trying to save water,” Cr Betteridge said. “Despite the pleasing results however, this is something that will need to continue. Our annual rainfall last year was lower than the historical average and Hume Dam levels dropped by 30% when compared with 2011-12.”

“Water consumption is something that we will continue monitoring closely as the Murray Darling Basin Plan rolls out. It will have a major impact on water usage in the region over the next seven years and there will be implications for Council, residents, business and farmers right along the Murray, including Albury.”

Cr Betteridge said the introduction of a number of Council strategies, including the Energy Saving Action Plan, Biodiversity Strategy and Albury – Our Future had all combined with increased community awareness to deliver such outstanding results.

“We’re seeing more people really embrace the sustainability message. These results are proof that small changes around our homes and businesses can have a huge impact on our local environment.”

Key Findings:

  • The Albury Waste Management Centre accounts for 97% of AlburyCity’s carbon emissions. Through a number of waste diversion strategies and the installation of a landfill gas collection system Council has achieved a 27 kilotonne reduction in emissions at the Centre in 2012-13.
  • In 2012-2013, 182,699 tonnes of waste was received at the Albury Waste Management Centre of which 17,841 tonnes was diverted from landfill. This was the lowest amount of waste received since 2010-2011 and the highest diversion rate since 2003-04.
  • Council has achieved 100% compliance with state standards on water quality in waterways and wetlands
  • Installation of almost 30kms of bicycle wand walking trails and a further 168kms of footpaths
  • AlburyCity’s electricity use has increased by 13%. Council will continue implementing strategies to reduce its electricity use, including the installation of solar panels at key facilities.

Areas for improvement and ongoing action:

  • Increasing community awareness around the collection of firewood, trees and deadwood from environmental areas. It has been identified as one of the biggest threats to environmental protection in Albury.
  • The invasion of noxious and dangerous weeds into areas of environmental significance, both through natural proliferation and human activity.
  • Soil erosion and its impact on wetlands and water courses
  • The slashing and mowing of understorey
  • The ongoing assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on Council and the Albury community