Why is this project important?

The Elster Creek catchment has a long history of widespread flooding, which has repeatedly affected Elwood and surrounding suburbs because of their low-lying position at the bottom of the catchment. Although stormwater flows from the upper catchment have been diverted elsewhere, Elster Creek – which runs through Elwood – still floods from time to time. Storm surges from Port Phillip Bay also cause flooding from the Elwood Canal.

Adding to these challenges are the intensity of continuing urban development of the area, as well as impacts from climate change – bringing more severe and unpredictable storms and floods. And while flooding can’t be entirely eliminated, this project will lessen its impacts now and into the future.

What we’re doing

We’re building a new drain alongside the existing one, by installing pre-cast culverts using an open trench method. This is because of the shallow location of the existing drain beneath the ground’s surface.

As part of the project, we’ll also be building:

  • a new drain inlet next to the existing one in the south-western corner of Elsternwick Park
  • a new outlet on Elwood Beach (which means doubling the width of Elwood Pier)
  • a diversion structure in Elster Creek to direct floodwaters through the Elsternwick Park retarding basin
  • maintenance pits above or next to the drain.

Construction is planned to start in 2025. Refer to the timeline on this page for more details.

Community impacts

We’re working with the City of Port Phillip and Bayside City Council in the planning, design and approvals for the project to ensure it’s delivered safely and efficiently, and to minimise large disturbances to our communities in Elwood and Brighton as much as we practically can.

However, like any major project, there will be some disruptions during construction. These disruptions will vary in their timing, duration and degrees of impact. We’ve been speaking with people who will be the most affected, and we’ll continue to plan for and manage local impacts by working closely with councils, residents, businesses, Elwood Park sports clubs, Elwood Croquet Club and others.

For details, click on the markers on the map below or read on to view Frequently Asked Questions we’ve received.

Map of Elwood Main Drain Project area showing new duplicated alignment next to current alignment, spanning from Elsternwick Park to Port Phillip Bay.

Frequently Asked Questions


There will be impacts and disruptions to some of the sports fields in Elwood Park, specifically the use of Head Street A and B ovals, for approximately 12 months. The project will not affect the Esplanade or Wattie Watson ovals or restrict use of the pavilion.

We understand how important the green open space and sporting fields are to the clubs and local community who use them. We will make every effort to minimise impacts to sports clubs as much as we can.

Melbourne Water and City of Port Phillip are committed to working together to ensure the best possible outcomes for all parties and their interests.

Throughout the detailed design and construction stages, there'll be lots of ways to receive information about the project, along with opportunities to talk to the project team. These include:

  • Our dedicated project webpage - remember to 'follow' this page to receive email updates
  • A 1800 number (1800 841 444) managed by the project team
  • Social media
  • Door knocks to residents and businesses
  • Signs in the project area
  • Community bulletins, newsletters, postcards and notifications delivered to your letterbox
  • Council offices, libraries and e-newsletters
  • ‘Pop up’ information events
  • In-person meetings

We'll continue to maintain contact with directly impacted residents, businesses, sports clubs and community groups, and will keep them informed of our project timelines and impacts as more information becomes available.

We’re aware that there have been ongoing flooding and drainage issues in Head Street.

This area is very complex in terms of drainage, and there is no simple long-term solution to the localised flooding issues in Head Street. The highly developed nature of the area, along with the location of multiple underground services, means that the available options are severely constrained.

The drainage issues in Head Street are beyond what the Elwood Main Drain Duplication Project can resolve. Bayside City Council is in the early planning and design stages of a drainage upgrade project to address flooding issues in Head Street. We’re working closely with Council to ensure our drainage systems are integrated. The new drain that we’ll be constructing will allow for connections from future Council-owned drainage infrastructure on Head Street.

Please contact Bayside City Council on 9599 4444 for more information on their drainage upgrade project.

Project planning

The City of Port Phillip has developed a redevelopment masterplan for the Elwood foreshore to ensure it meets the demands of a growing and changing community. This will be implemented over the next decade.

We’re working in partnership with City of Port Phillip on the planning and design of our respective projects to ensure that they're integrated and achieve the best possible outcomes for the community.

Together, we’ll look at ways to ensure the local amenity, environment, heritage and community interests are protected and enhanced during the delivery of the project, and offer long-term benefits for the community.

It's likely that the Elwood Main Drain Duplication project will be completed before the implementation of the Elwood foreshore masterplan begins.

For more information on the masterplan, visit the City of Port Phillip website.

Bayside City Council is transforming the former Elsternwick Park golf course into a natural oasis to bring nature back into the urban area, providing refuge and tranquility for both wildlife and visitors. New wetlands and water bodies will improve the quality of water flowing into Port Phillip Bay and provide a diverse habitat that, along with new trees and vegetation, will encourage native wildlife back to the area.

We're working closely with Bayside City Council on the planning and design of the wetland system (in the southern area of Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve) to ensure that both projects are coordinated and delivered successfully.

For more information on the Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve project, visit Bayside City Council's website.


The project will be designed to avoid significant native vegetation (e.g. Australian native Port Jackson Figs in Head Street Reserve, River Red Gums in Elsternwick Park). Tree protection zones will be put in place for significant trees and other native vegetation to be protected.

Unfortunately, not all vegetation can be avoided. In some areas, we will need to remove or trim some trees and shrubs to undertake the works, particularly in Head Street Reserve and the south-western corner of Elsternwick Park.

After the works have been completed, we will replace lost vegetation by re-planting in the local area and rehabilitate disturbed areas in accordance with plans approved by City of Port Phillip and Bayside City Council.

An integral part of our design process will include an assessment of the outlet with modelling of hydraulics and sand movement of the coastal system. The primary objective is to ensure no change to the sand movement along the beach in the Elwood foreshore precinct.

We are currently in the early planning and information gathering stage of the project, with site investigations underway (eg. geotechnical investigations, ground surveys and inspections of the existing main drain). The results from these investigations will inform the detailed design of the project. As we progress to detailed design, we’ll be finding out what permits and approvals will be needed for the project. As part of this process, environmental assessments will be undertaken to understand what flora and fauna may be impacted and how they can be protected.

We will work closely with City of Port Phillip, Bayside City Council, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (DEECA) and community groups to manage the works and to protect the unique environmental (land and marine), community and heritage values of the local area.

Continuing intensification of development in the upstream catchment of Elster Creek, as well as changes in climate, have increased the volume and concentration of stormwater flows to low-lying areas in Elwood, exacerbating flood risk to properties. Sea level rise, driven by climate change, will place additional flood risk on Elwood in the coming decades.

The Elwood Main Drain Duplication Project will provide an improved flood mitigation system to reduce the impacts of flooding for the Elwood community, with capacity for future stormwater flows. The design of the drain will cater to 2070 climate change projections which includes sea level rises.

Ask a question

If your question hasn’t been answered on this page, submit it to the project team below.