Alexandra Canal Bank Rehabilitation Project

We've rehabilitated the Alexandra Canal at Tempe Reserve to improve the reliability of the stormwater system in this area.

Work started in November 2015 and was completed in August 2016.

The rehabilitated bank of the canal

We've repaired and stabilised Alexandra Canal banks to prevent further erosion.

About the Alexandra Canal project

Alexandra Canal

Alexandra Canal is a man-made canal of heritage significance. It flows into the Cooks River. 

Alexandra Canal was built in the 1880s to turn the existing natural Sheas Creek into a waterway for local industry transport. Before this, Sheas Creek was a narrow, winding creek flowing from Surry Hills into the Cooks River. The sandstone banks have been in place since the 1880s.

The river is four kilometres long and is now mainly used for stormwater management.

Canal rehabilitation

The banks of Alexandra Canal have suffered considerable erosion and degradation over time.

We’ve finished rehabilitating the banks to prevent further erosion and ensure nearby parks aren't damaged in future. The most recent renewal project focused on the area near Tempe Reserve, where there was the most erosion.

Aerial view of Alexandra Canal showing work area

Select the image to see a larger version of the Alexandra Canal project site.

We've now finished work to rehabilitate Alexandra Canal.

The project took place over 15 months. We worked in partnership with our contractor Total Earth Care and closely liaised with Inner West City Council (previously Marrickville Council).

The canal rehabilitation cost $3.4 million and included naturalising the local waterway while respecting the area's Aboriginal and European heritage.

How did we repair the banks?

We stabilised the banks with:

  • new sandstone blocks that were individually cut and placed
  • some of the original stone wall from the 1800s.

This helped preserve the original form, structure and character of the canal.

The new banks have been designed to enhance the marine environment and habitat.

The reconstructed bank wall also includes intertidal 'block pools' cut into sandstone and spaces between the blocks to support habitat for flora and fauna. 

We also:

  • meticulously protected the large fig trees at the site during construction. They continue to provide amenity and shade
  • planted a series of low to medium height indigenous plants in garden beds. These help stabilise the canal banks and enhance the look of the area.

Alexandra Canal bank rehabiltation project - 23469 & 28474

The canal banks - before and after our improvements.


When will we make more improvements to the canal?

Our most recent work rehabilitated over 300 metres of the canal.

We'll look at opportunities to improve the canal and the surrounding environment in a similar way to this project where possible.

To learn more, contact our Community Relations Team by:

Sydney Water
Community Relations - Stormwater Program                        
PO Box 399