Marvel at that H2... oh!

wetland next to Dixon Drive in HolderWhen we recently trekked through the Himalayas in Nepal, we marvelled at the mighty rivers carving their passages, as they have always done.

With snow melting, the sound of these massive rivers was overwhelming. Landscapes were transformed with boulders the size of small cars rolling down steep-sided gorges.

Reaching down to fill up the water bottles, our sherpa abruptly told us not to drink. It was not ‘safety water’.  How surprising that the water quality of this mighty river had been compromised. A village the culprit, with the adverse touch of the human hand the cause.

Returning to the bush capital we reflected upon these experiences, on the impact and the consequences we continue to have upon this small blue dot we call planet Earth.

It reminded me that by thinking globally, we can act locally.

As an innovative awareness campaign, H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy is a call to action. The underlining message resonates: only rain down the stormwater drain. It’s all about the little things we can collectively do to take better care of our creeks, rivers and lakes by keeping a close eye on what goes down the stormwater drain.

With a multi-million dollar investment, the ACT Healthy Waterways initiative was our generation’s opportunity to change past practices and vastly improve our city’s water quality footprint. This investment saw the construction of urban wetlands, ponds and rain gardens that were designed to reduce the level of nutrients and pollutants entering our lakes and waterways.

One such wetland is nestled next to Dixon Drive in Holder.

Prior to its development, water running into North Weston Pond had extremely high nutrient and salt loads. Leaf litter and fertiliser run-off led to toxic algae blooms.

A recent catchment health indicator report is showing that this wonderful new wetland is beginning to do its job. With small water birds visiting, even the local wildlife are giving an environmental tick of approval.  Residents are voting with their feet and bikes that it’s a great place to play or just commune with nature.

Southern ACT Catchment, along with the Holder Wetlands Carers, will hold an open day this Sunday, 11 August, from 11am to 2pm. Stalls will offer the perfect opportunity to learn more about local Landcare, how you can get actively involved in Waterwatch and the amazing Frogwatch programs. There will also be a yummy BBQ, walks and talks.

For more information email

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle