Adopt a Drain – Winter 2024

Collaboration & Partnership

Community Wellbeing



Functioning Ecosystems

Healthy Ecosystems

Risks to our Catchment

Take Action

Urban Development

Water Quality

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Welcome to our ‘Adopt a Drain’ winter newsletter

Our Adopt a Drain Winter newsletter is here – a tool to help you and your whānau take action against stormwater pollution. 

This season we’re diving into two simple winter tips, using our Catchment Health Dashboard, and the little pollutant we keep finding along the lakefront…

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. 

Is stormwater runoff affecting Bullock Creek?

Have you seen our new Catchment Health Dashboard? It’s an interactive tool for viewing the health of our catchment through the lens of six indicators: land use change, water quality, invasive species, greenhouse gas emissions, climate variables, and social wellbeing.

When it comes to water quality, Bullock Creek, a local and beloved stream that flows from the Cardrona Valley into Lake Wānaka, has been given a D-rating (poor) for presence of E-coli, a bacteria common in animal waste and stormwater runoff. 

current state of lake and river water in the catchment

Local group Friends of Bullock Creek are on a mission to protect and restore Bullock Creek alongside their neighbourhood. They hold ‘working bees’ at the wetland every Thursday from 2pm-4pm. Learn more by visiting their Facebook Page.

Carpooling to reduce sediment entering our lakes

Last winter, we talked about sediment, why it’s a stormwater pollutant, and easy ways to stop sediment from entering our lakes and rivers.

This winter, we’re going a step further by focusing on carpooling – especially for trips to our nearby ski fields. 

muddy truck

Carpooling not only cuts down on carbon emissions but also means fewer cars getting covered in sediment this winter. When it rains, this sediment (dirt, sand, clay) washes off cars and into our stormwater network. By carpooling, we can reduce dirty water entering our lakes and rivers.

Snow in town = time to clean our drains

Here in the Upper Clutha, it rarely snows lower than the mountain tops. However, it’s always good to be prepared for a winter snowfall in our community.

To prevent flooding, keep your drains clear of snow, ice and debris during winter. Remove snow with a shovel and never use salt to clear storm drains or your driveway. 

Shoveling snow can be hard work, remember to bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back. 

snow on a water drain

No ifs, ands or butts

cigarette butts - litter in wanaka

We’ve been finding heaps of cigarette butts during our lakefront clean-ups (along the Wānaka lakefront near the wharf), as well as in our Litta Trap on Ardmore Street (also near the lakefront). For now, we will continue to collect data on these butts and dispose of them along the way. 

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

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