Protect our waterways
Brisbane’s waterways are important for our environment, economy and livelihoods. They have many functions from reducing floods to producing clean water and food for domestic, industry and agricultural uses. Our waterways also provide important habitat for many animals and plants.
The Brisbane River is at the heart of our city and Moreton Bay plays an important role in our economy and lifestyle. Our backyards and balconies are connected to the river and bay by stormwater drains and creeks. What you do around your home, in your garden and street makes a difference to the health of our waterways.
If we don’t look after our waterways we’re placing our native plants and animal life, such as our waterbirds, at risk.
Environmental warning signs and scientific research tell us we could face a range of problems, including:
- lack of a quality water supply for our homes and industry, particularly farming
- problems in the tourism, fishing and agriculture industries, who rely on clean waterways for their ongoing success
- loss of essential seagrass habitat for dugong and other animals
- increased toxic algal blooms, which can reduce water quality and harm wildlife
- threats to commercial and recreational fishing, especially around western Moreton Bay
- loss of water sports, such as swimming and canoeing
- loss of biodiversity (that is, the variety of plants and animals living in our waterways)
When it rains water runs over your property. It flows through the gutters around your home, over your yard, across your driveway or other hard surfaces. Perhaps you’ve noticed grates or drains on the street outside your home which direct stormwater into underground pipes?
Most stormwater drains don’t treat water. The water, and anything in the water, is piped straight to your local creek, the Brisbane River and ultimately Moreton Bay. Your home and street connects to the waterways via a huge network of stormwater drains and pipes.
You can help to care for our waterways by:
- washing your car with care by keeping soap and suds out of the stormwater drain. Wash your car on the grass if possible or go to a car wash.
- picking up animal manure. Put your dog waste into a bin and make sure manure from horses, backyard chickens and other domestic animals can't run off into waterways or stormwater drains during heavy rain.
- keeping chemicals out of the drain by disposing of hazardous waste correctly
- controlling erosion and sediment into waterways
- making sure your rubbish goes into your bin. Heavy fines apply to people caught littering
- putting garden waste to good use e.g. adding your grass clippings into your compost bin
- using fertilisers and garden chemicals sparingly
- keeping fish in your tanks and not letting them 'go free'
- reporting stormwater pollution to Council
What Council is doing
Looking after Brisbane's waterways is important to residents and Council. The WaterSmart Strategy and Brisbane's Total Water Cycle Management Plan outline Council's current policy and management actions.
Council's initiatives to improve the health of waterways include:
- making significant investment in the Norman Creek 2012-2031 Project to revitalise an entire inner-city catchment
- practising water sensitive urban design
- installing creek filtration systems
- involvement in Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, International River Foundation and Healthy Waterways and the State Planning Policy 4/10 Healthy Waters
- planting more than 100 water smart street trees with a water smart device underneath, which enables stormwater to be diverted through a garden bed before entering the waterway, removing pollutants from the stormwater and providing water and nutrients for street tree growth and survival. Find out more about this project.
- helping the community protect and restore Brisbane's waterways and bays in partnership with the 11 catchment groups with our Creek Catchment Program.