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Public encouraged to reduce water pollution with new campaign

“Only rain down the stormwater drain” has been launched as the slogan for Canberra's new H2OK education campaign.

The initiative is aimed at improving the health of the region's waterways and reducing water pollution.

Australian Capital Territory Senator Zed Seselja launched the campaign, saying “the biggest cause of water pollution in our lakes and waterways is contaminated stormwater runoff from our streets, house blocks, development sites, retail and industrial areas”.

ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman said the campaign aimed to teach people better ways of keeping pollutants out of waterways.

“The program highlights key habits that contribute to poor water quality such as raking or blowing leaves into the drains, over-fertilising and washing cars in driveways,” he said.

“A range of education and engagement activities – such as community events, demonstration sites and artwork on stormwater drains, as well as a region-wide advertising campaign – will be used to show how simple changes in behaviour help keep our waterways healthy.

“While the program aims to reach everyone in the community, messages have been tailored to four target audiences: urban residents; rural residents on small blocks; the building and construction industry; and the maintenance and cleaning industry, such as commercial cleaners, and landscaping and mowing businesses.”

H2OK is part of the joint Federal and Territory Government funded ACT Healthy Waterways Project, which works to intercept 5132 tonnes of suspended solids each year, including 4.3 tonnes of phosphorus and 18.4 tonnes of nitrogen across six priority catchments.

The project also includes new infrastructure works such as ponds, wetlands and rain gardens.