Adopt a Drain – Autumn 2024

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Functioning Ecosystems

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Water Quality

adopt a drain autumn 2024 with WAI Wanaka

Welcome to our ‘Adopt a Drain’ autumn newsletter

This season we’re keeping things simple by focusing on something we can all do to help decrease stormwater pollution in our communities: talk about it! 

An ‘Adopt a Drain’ refresher: 

Whatever goes down our storm drains eventually flows (untreated!) into our waterways. ‘Adopt a Drain’ encourages individuals and groups to adopt the storm drains in their neighbourhood. This means making a pledge to help keep it clear of pollutants. By doing so, we can keep our lakes and rivers swimmable, protect aquatic life and maintain the health of our ecosystems. 

"only rain" letters made of stones and sticks, heading towards a drain on a street = only rain down the drain

The power of conversation 

Here in the Upper Clutha, many of us aren’t aware that our stormwater flows untreated into our lakes and rivers and the affects this can have on the health of our water. 

Talking to friends and whānau about our ‘Adopt a Drain’ initiative and sharing your experiences is a way to help others learn and think more deeply about their own impacts. Each conversation we have can make a difference in protecting our freshwater resources. 

Understanding the difference between wastewater/wai para and stormwater/wai āwhā is a great first step towards feeling confident when chatting about our stormwater systems. Below is a simple description of each:

Encourage neighbours through action

When you feel uncomfortable talking with neighbours or strangers about their stormwater habits, leading by example is a great alternative to inspire change. Your actions can serve as a ‘trigger event’ for others to reconsider their habits or become interested in learning more.

If you witness an individual or business pouring contaminents down a storm drain, it’s important to report it to ORC’s pollution hotline: 0800 800 033. 

Sweeping leaves and debris out of your storm drains

Autumn means falling leaves throughout our communities. Taking a few minutes to sweep and collect leaves and other debris off your neighbourhood storm drains is an easy but meaningful action. Go the extra mile by using these leaves as mulch in your garden!

icon of broom sweeping
icon of car

Washing your car on the lawn or using a commercial carwash 

An action we never get tired of sharing with our communities. Washing your vehicle on the lawn (for your neighbours to see!) or going to a commercial carwash directly reduces soaps and chemicals from entering our storm drains.  

Autumn planting season has begun

planting native trees with wai wanaka

Autumn offers prime planting conditions here in the Upper Clutha. Embracing native gardens not only enhances our landscapes but also aids in stormwater filtration and boosts biodiversity. 

One neighbourhood at a time

Do you know a household in the Upper Clutha that might be interested in adopting their neighbourhood’s drains?
Forward this email and help us to grow this initiative. We encourage anyone interested to get in touch by emailing

adopt a drain, protect our waterways logo