Protecting stormwater

Stormwater is the water that runs off surface areas like roofs, roads and driveways following rain. It is transported either diffusely or is discharged via conduits or drains (lined or unlined) directly from surface areas into our rivers, streams and estuaries. 

The issues

Stormwater is untreated rainwater and surface runoff that collects contaminants along its path and discharge them into our rivers, streams and estuaries.

Contaminants within stormwater can include sediment, oil and grease, organic material, faecal material and hazardous chemicals. Contaminants include soap suds and detergents and even biodegradable and environmentally friendly products. The detergents take up oxygen in the water and plants and fish cant breath.

The risk of such contaminants being present is higher when the discharge is from industrial or trade premises or from a reticulated system that collects stormwater from a larger area and a number of properties.

What we're doing

Check out Environment Southland's Pollution Prevention Guide that contains specific information for industrial and commercial businesses. For more information, contact the pollution prevention team at Environment Southland.

What you can do

Take care when washing your car

Learn how to wash your car without discharging contaminants into the stormwater drains.

Download our factsheet on car washing.

Raise awareness by painting fish on drains

Painting fish on drains is a great way to help people identify their nearest stormwater drain. It also creates awareness that what goes down the drain goes into the river, the estuary and eventually to the sea. The Invercargill Environment Centre has resources for teaching people about stormwater drains and can supply paint and a fish template for paint fishing on drains around their school, business or neighbourhood.

Visit the Invercargill Environment Centre website for further information.

Get to know your local waterways

Stream Connections is a resource for Southland schools to help them connect with the many accessible rivers and streams in their catchment, both inside and outside the classroom. It allows students to explore and discover their local waterways, learn about their environmental value and make connections with their waterways.

Download the Stream Connections Resource Pack for Teachers.

Know the rules

If you are discharging (or proposing to discharge) stormwater, you need to be aware of the requirements for managing stormwater under the Southland Regional Water Plan.

Refer to our stormwater guide for details of the relevant rules, and other information about applying for permits for the discharge of stormwater in the Southland region.​

Page reviewed: 29 Apr 2016 11:12am