The City of Unley is committed to pursuing, supporting and creating an environment that will sustain both current and future generations. We are committed to using fewer of our precious resources and looking for smarter ways to achieve this objective.

The Environmental Sustainability Strategy guides Council’s direction and priorities in implementing greening goals identified in its Community Plan 2033.

The Strategy is divided into five themes:
Green Unley: improving and maintaining Unley’s Urban Forest
Waterwise Unley: efficient, effective and sustainable water management
Resilient Unley: increasing resilience for changes in climate
Resourceful Unley: excellence in waste management through diversion, avoidance and re-use
Energywise Unley: increasing the energy efficiency of the City

Green Unley

Improving and maintaining Unley’s Urban Forest

The City of Unley is an urban environment noted for its tree-lined streets, parks and private gardens. The protection of Unley’s trees and street trees is particularly important to mitigating the impacts of climate, the urban heat island effect and a range of other benefits. This work is guided in detail by the City of Unley Tree Strategy.
There is also an excellent opportunity for more verges to be planted. Most are currently dolomite which is not water permeable. If these are replaced with loam and low plantings or with lawn maintained by residents, it will help improve soil moisture, reflected heat and add to the cool, green feel of the City. 

Ongoing work in parks, reserves, residential gardens and the encouragement of local food production is still underway.

Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

  • Trees
  • Habitat boxes
  • Verge gardening by residents
  • Biodiversity native plantings
  • Maintenance of parks and open space
  • Encouragement of private plantings
  • Food security including encouraging local food production
  • Community gardens at Fern Avenue, the Goody Patch and Morrie Harrell Reserve

Waterwise Unley

Efficient, effective and sustainable water management


The City of Unley is committed to have water sensitive urban design as a feature and reducing its dependency on River Murray water, while also maintaining its parks, reserves and street trees. Rain gardens and other Water Sensitive Urban Design measures are important to both conserve water and improve water quality by reducing stormwater pollution.

There has been excellent progress in recent years to waterproof the City, by providing recycled water options to most of its parks and reserves through the Glenelg to Adelaide Parklands Recycled Water Project (GAP) and Managed Aquifer Recharge schemes (MAR).

There are a range of Waterwise actions you can take such as installing rainwater tanks, selecting water wise plants, mulch and wicking beds, and taking shorter showers.

Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

  • Water Sensitive Urban Design (for example, diversions for watering street trees, rain gardens and permeable paving)
  • Continue expansion of MAR and GAP networks and the use of their recycled water
  • Reducing water use, planting water wise plants, capture and reuse of water
  • Waterproofing parks and gardens

Resilient Unley

Increasing resilience to changes in climate

The City of Unley has partnered with the other Eastern Region Alliance (ERA) Councils and Adelaide City Council to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the eastern region called Resilient East.

The plan outlines key vulnerabilities to climate change across the eastern region and a range of adaptation decision making and planning options at a regional and individual Council level.

For The City of Unley key vulnerabilities are anticipated from increased heatwave frequency and duration and more intense periods of rainfall. Resilient East provides a number of preferred options for the eastern region to increase our resilience to climate change.

Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

Resourceful Unley

Excellence in waste management, through diversion, avoidance and re-use

The City of Unley is committed to reducing waste, from both its own operations and the community, and to the management of waste in a sustainable manner. Council offers several options for recycling and waste disposal including kerbside collections, hard rubbish collections and a range of other services and education programs to support our community.

This work is guided by the Waste Management Strategy 2013-2017 which includes activities to provide innovative and responsive waste management practices that promote recycling and reduce waste. It incorporates best management practices to manage the waste collected by Council.

Key initiatives that fall under this theme include:

  • Domestic Waste – education, re-use, organics, hard rubbish
  • Commercial Waste – organics, recycle construction
  • Council leader in waste management – alternate recycling, operations, our usage

Energywise Unley

Increasing the energy efficiency of the City

Our modern Australian lifestyle is very energy intensive. We have become high electricity users. Our homes, which are now larger, commonly contain air-conditioning and many electrical appliances which rely heavily on fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity prices have increased over the last few years, resulting in increased operation expenses.

By combining reduction of energy usage with uptake of renewable sources, we can make a big difference in reducing electricity consumption, reduce carbon footprint, contribute to climate change mitigation and reduce risk against future electricity price rises.

Key initiatives that fall under this theme include: For lots of ways to reduce your energy bills at home or in your small business, visit the Energy Smart Saver website.