H2OK - Keeping our waterways healthy

There are many ways to enjoy the ACT's lakes and waterways. From swimming, boating, and fishing, to walking, cycling, and barbecuing on the shore, all rely on clean and healthy water catchments.

And keeping catchments clean starts with stormwater.

What's stormwater? Stormwater is any rainwater that doesn't soak into the soil or evaporate away, but runs overground, along with anything it picks up on the way. In cities there can be a lot of it, because of all the hard surfaces such as roads, roofs, driveways and footpaths. To prevent flooding, we have a system of drains and pipes to channel stormwater away from buildings and roads. The stormwater system doesn't take rainwater to an industrial filtration plant like the sewage system does. It flows directly into local waterways.

As rainwater runs across different surfaces, it can pick up various types of pollutants. Next time it rains, put on a raincoat, find your closest stormwater drain and watch what goes down with the rainwater. Did you see leaves? Litter? Oil? Dirt? Can you add to the list?

What about all the pollutants you can’t see – fertiliser, insecticide, detergent, chemicals?

Contaminated stormwater is a big contributor to poor water quality. Everyone has a role to play in protecting our lakes and waterways. To get started, check out our top tips for clean stormwater.