Protecting our waterways

Our waterways are precious and we all have a part to play in protecting them.

At home

Don’t pour anything into a stormwater drain that could be toxic to wildlife. 

Many household products are toxic and shouldn’t be used outside without taking precautions. Some of the products that you should stop from entering the stormwater system are:

  • Paints and solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Motor oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Diesel
  • Petrol
  • Washing detergent
  • Degreasers
  • Disinfectants
  • Drain and toilet cleaners
  • Drycleaning agents
  • Household cleaners. 

Most of these contain chemicals that are toxic to fish and invertebrates. Many small discharges from numerous sources can poison streams and rivers.

If you are painting or staining your home, garage or deck, or you have hired a contractor to do this work, you or they will need to take the necessary precautions to prevent paints and solvents from entering our waterways.

If you are cleaning your car with detergents, please clean it on a grassed area and not on concrete driveways or on the road. Or, better still, use a car cleaning service as water collected from commercial operations goes to the wastewater treatment plant.


Litter left on our streets, curbs, footpaths, parks and beaches is not only unsightly, but it also damages our environment and wildlife.

When litter enters our stormwater networks it usually ends up in our streams, rivers, lakes and the Tasman Sea. We all need to do more to prevent litter from entering our waterways, by:

  • using bins provided
  • taking litter home when there are no bins
  • picking up litter. 

Some of the measures Council takes to help keep litter out of our stormwater networks include:

  • A street cleaner in various towns periodically
  • A special grate to catch litter from the stormwater system before it enters Lake Horowhenua from the Queen Street Drain
  • Supporting the work of Keep Horowhenua Beautiful. If you want to help Keep Horowhenua Beautiful please visit their Keep Horowhenua Beautiful Facebook page.


During heavy rain events our stormwater carries a lot of sediment that ends up in waterways.

Sediment reduces the habitat of aquatic life and in the long term reduces the depth of waterways – including Lake Horowhenua.

In Horowhenua, sediment in our stormwater mostly comes from horticultural farms. Horizons Regional Council oversees rural stormwater issues and you can find out more about this by visiting

Concerned at the effect of sediment on Lake Horowhenua, the Lake Horowhenua Trust Board has constructed a sediment trap where the Arawhata Stream enters the Lake and a T Drain (designed to capture sediment) where the Queen Street Drain enters the lake.

The Trust Board, along with Horizons Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, Horowhenua District Council and the Lake Domain Board are all parties to the Lake Horowhenua Accord – He Hokioi Rerenga Tahi. The Accord includes a range of actions to help clean up the health of the Lake, including reducing stormwater sediment from entering the Lake. As a direct result of the Accord, some horticulturalists, dairy farmers and landowners have made changes to their operations to limit the amount of sediments and nitrates entering the lake.

You can find out more about the Lake Accord on the Horizons Regional Council website.