A new water wise native nursery been opened by Council as the first step toward transforming the city into a water wise, native oasis showcasing the best of dry tropics planting across public spaces.

The initiative is set to support Townsville’s broader water security plan with a transformative focus on demonstrating for homeowners and developers what it takes to build a resilient and sustainable community.

The new Dry Tropics Nursery has been established specifically to grow dry tropics plants for Council to use across the city’s parks and open spaces as showcase gardens.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said established native plants like the Mount Stuart and Tinaroo bottlebrushes would use much less water than their non-native counterparts.

“Townsville is a dry tropics environment and one of the most arid parts of the country,” Cr Hill said.“We have recognised as a Council that there are currently too many water-thirsty plants across the city, and it is just not appropriate for our environment.”

Residents currently use much of their water keeping lawns and gardens green across the city, which Cr Hill said was not sustainable behaviour.

“With water security identified as one of the key challenges for Townsville, we all need to take a long hard look at our water use habits and that includes Council.“Water is a commodity, and we need to ensure we are doing everything we can as an organisation to showcase for the community how we can all conserve and manage it effectively.

Council has one of the largest irrigation networks in the southern hemisphere and is also working to ensure the network is optimised to be water efficient.

“Not only are we replacing irrigation systems with more water efficient products, but by planting endemic and native species we will support greater longevity of the network as a whole.”

Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said the new nursery was the first step to replacing vegetation with plants to suit our dry tropics climate.

“Once fully operational we expect the new nursery to supply up to 20,000 native plants a year for use on Council projects across the city,” Cr Soars said. “Using native plants also has the added benefit of helping the region’s pollinators and endemic fauna to increase biodiversity. The project is just the start of what will be ongoing work for Council year on year as we progressively transition our gardens, parks and roadside landscapes.”

For tips on how to conserve water at home and in your garden, visit Council’s website.