Adopt a Drain – Winter 2023

Collaboration & Partnership

Community Wellbeing



Functioning Ecosystems

Healthy Ecosystems

Risks to our Catchment

Take Action

Urban Development

Water Quality

Adopt a Drain heading with image of the lake

Winter is here, and so is our ‘Adopt a Drain’ newsletter – winter edition!

Don’t let the cold fool you – our actions still matter, especially when it comes to protecting our lakes and rivers. For this newsletter we’ll focus on a dirty pollutant that often falls under the radar…

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, 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.


Keeping our waterways healthy in winter

What is sediment and why is it a stormwater pollutant?

Sediment is the mixture of dirt, sand, and other particles that have been detached from the land due to erosion.

When it rains, sediment on roads, driveways and vehicles is picked up by stormwater as runoff, eventually making its way into our lakes and rivers.

Muddy water

Sediment harms aquatic life

Sediment is not just innocent dirt, it can negatively affect water quality in our lakes and rivers by:

  • Reducing water clarity. (Water becomes cloudy and is unable to transmit light.)
  • Smothering important habitat and food sources for local fish
  • Being a carrier of other pollutants such as chemicals, oils and microplastics.


Keeping sediment out of our waterways

Muddy vehicle

Clear water is crucial for healthy ecosystems and enjoying our lakes and rivers. Here are three ways you can keep sediment out of our waterways:

1. Wash your vehicle on the lawn or at a commercial car wash 

Driving up and down the ski fields in winter often leads to a very dirty car. Washing your vehicle on a permeable surface (such as a lawn or gravel area) stops sediment from entering our storm drains. Don’t have the lawn space? Opt for a commercial car wash!

3.Sweeping > hosing 

We all like to keep our driveways and neighbourhood sidewalks clean of dirt and sand. Opt for sweeping these areas (onto a permeable surface) versus hosing them down. Washing these areas can result in sediment runoff. 

4.Stop erosion at the source by planting natives

Established trees and shrubs help stabilise banks and reduce erosion. We recommend doing the planning phase of a planting project in winter and planting in spring for optimal plant survival. 

Icons of a car, broom and plant


Help us spread the word

The ‘Adopt a Drain’ whānau continues to grow throughout the Upper Clutha, showcasing the incredible passion our local communities have for protecting our waterways. But we’re not stopping here – we’re on a mission to keep this momentum going, reducing stormwater pollution every step of the way!

Do you know a household in our area that might be interested?

Share this post and help us grow this initiative. We encourage anyone interested to get in touch by emailing

Adopt a drain, protect our waterways

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