Caring for our waterways

Find out how you can help promote the health of our waterways.

Visit the Regional Stormwater Forum website for information about best practice stormwater management in Canterbury.

Napier City Council has produced a great educational video that is a useful teaching resource about what stormwater is and common sources of contaminants. Thanks to Napier City Council for sharing this resource.

What you can do to help

Polluting our waterways impacts greatly on the flora and fauna they support. In the past, waterways were used as waste channels for pollution from our local industries, farms and urban development. Today there is a greater awareness of the need to protect our environment and keeping our waterways clean is one way of doing this.

We all need to work together.  Here are some ways that you can help to do this.

Doggy doo

Many people now take a doggy bag to pick up their doggy’s droppings. That is so much better than leaving it to be washed into the waterway where it would add nutrients, when broken down, which in turn promotes weed growth. The water quality is also reduced, making it in many cases unsafe for water contact recreation.

Livestock in waterways

Cows and deer like to wallow in waterways - who wouldn’t on a hot day? Unfortunately in doing so they drop their faeces or urine, trample down the banks and promote the discharge of sediment downstream. This problem has been known for some time and gradually fencing is being put up to prevent this happening. Please help to promote waterway health by fencing off waterways where your stock may have access. There are a number of ways that stock can get access to water without standing in a waterway and Council staff are available to answer your questions on this.

Washing your car

We all like to have our cars looking clean but do we look where the detergent and water goes to?  If you have access to some lawn, why not wash your car on this? The lawn and the soil beneath filter the dirt and wash liquid and reduces the problem of stream pollution.


A lawn needs care and gives satisfaction when mown, but what to do with the lawn clippings?  Fortunately most people are responsible and put their green waste out for composting.  Sadly some people, however, choose to use our waterways to dispose of the clippings - out of sight, out of mind!

Wind-blown paper and rubbish

Where does this come from? Insecure loads on the way to the transfer station? Make sure that loads are properly tied down so the rubbish does not come adrift.  Left on the roadway it will only find its way into streams or waterways.  This applies also to loose paper in its many forms, from mailbox drops to tossing of cigarette butts and food wraps from cars. Plastic waste can also be a hazard.


Okay so you have done a cool paint job and wonder where to clean your paint brushes? Please don't wash out in the side channel on the road as this only leads to pollution of our waterways. What to do? When buying paint seek advice from your paint shop of the ways in which brushes may be washed without polluting the environment.

Promoting waterway health

By taking steps to improve the water stormwater is managed, you'll be:

  • helping to keep rivers, lakes and beaches cleaner and safer for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities
  • reducing the risk of flooding and erosion on your property and around your neighbourhood.

If you have an idea to promote healthy waterways we would love to hear from you. Please contact one of our waterway-friendly Stormwater staff to discuss.

For more ideas on keeping our waterways clean, visit the CleanWaterways website.

The Cam River Enhancement Fund

The Cam River Enhancement Fund was set up for habitat restoration in the Cam River system. The Fund has been allocated to four priority areas; Tuahiwi Stream, North Brook and Middle Brook tributaries and spring protection in the headwaters of the South Brook. The majority of the work is due for completion in 2019.

Visit the Cam River Enhancement Fund page for more information about the Cam River and catchment, the Fund, and recent meeting minutes of the Cam River Subcommittee.