The Council and democracy Our Rivers, Our City Strategy

About the Our Rivers, Our City Strategy

Historically, our waterways were fundamental to Manchester's rise to economic power. They remain at the heart of what makes the city tick. 

As well as the canals, Manchester has three main river valleys; the Irk in the north, the Medlock in the centre and the Mersey in the south. The Irk and Medlock flow into the River Irwell, forming the boundary between the city and Salford. The River Mersey flows through the southern part of the City on its route towards the Manchester Ship Canal further downstream. The Bollin forms the border with Cheshire.
It’s important we manage Manchester’s waterways - and surface water - well to reduce the risk (and costs) of flooding. 

Our rivers also provide vital environmental services, including:

  • creating settings for investment and family life 
  • providing essential habitats for wildlife
  • dilution for treated wastewater
  • health and well-being benefits
  • supporting temperature regulation of the urban heat island and water-based recreation

We are working with partners including United Utilities and the Environment Agency on river restoration as part of the major regeneration of North and East Manchester. The Our Rivers Our City webmap has been developed to support the strategy development. It contains a multitude of environmental datasets which will become available either through our own website or via Mapping GM.

About the Our Rivers, Our City Strategy 

The Our Rivers, Our City Strategy has been developed over the last 18 months by: 

  • Manchester City Council
  • United Utilities
  • Far East Consortium
  • Natural England
  • Environment Agency
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Alongside a consultancy team of The Environment Partnership (TEP), Groundwork Greater Manchester and the Mersey Rivers Trust. 

The Our Rivers, Our City Strategy is funded by the GrowGreen project. Alongside our partner cities in Valencia (Spain), Wroclaw (Poland), Brest (France), Zadar (Croatia) and Modena(Italy); we are refreshing our Green Infrastructure Strategy to accelerate and upscale the uptake and understanding of nature-based solutions.

We built our ‘demonstration project’ at West Gorton Community Park. The University of Manchester are monitoring how the park impacts the effects of heat stress and surface water flooding. They are also monitoring the park’s impact on health and wellbeing, social inclusion, biodiversity and economic uplift.

The Our Rivers, Our City Strategy includes: 

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