River Aware


We were thrilled to launch our River Aware neighbourhood campaign recently. It was great to chat with so many local residents about some of the things they do on their street to help protect our waterways as well as our plan to make the Parramatta River swimmable again.

Early results from our survey show that less than half of those surveyed know where their household waste water goes, highlighting the need for more education around stormwater runoff and its impact on waterway health.

Read below to find out more about how River Aware can help make our rivers and creeks clean and safe places for everyone to enjoy!

Why River Aware?

A living river reflects a healthy community and benefits our well-being and lifestyle. We all have a role to play in protecting our waterways. There are five simple habits we can adopt to  help make our environment clean and safe for everyone to enjoy:

1. Cover Yourself

Keep garden materials away from wind and rain.

• Sweep up or blow leaves and dirt from  driveways back onto the garden beds or place in the bin

• Use a catcher when you mow

• Cover piles of dirt or mulch which could blow or wash away.



2. Leave only paw prints

Picking up pet waste stops nasties washing away.

Carry pet waste bags when walking the dog or use bag dispensers at local parks

Place bagged pet waste into the bin.




3. Come Clean

Wipes, tissues, nappies and hygiene waste all belong in the bin.

Place a bin in the bathroom at home or use sanitary bins when out

Never flush wet or ‘flushable’ wipes.





4. Do it on your lawn

Washing a car this way will keep fine particles and soap out of the river.

Find a patch of grass to wash your car

Use a commercial carwash.





5. Keep It Clear

The drain is for just for water – chemicals, oils and paints don’t belong here.

Store chemicals in closed, labelled containers

Drop off old or unused chemicals to Community Waste Recycling Centres.




What is a catchment?

Rivers are naturally flowing waterways which are ours to be enjoyed. The house and street where you live is in a river catchment – an area of land where water collects when it rains. Even if you can’t see them, rivers are extensions of our neighbourhoods.

What is stormwater?

Every drop of rain that falls on our streets ends up in a gutter or drain as stormwater. It runs through a series of pipes underground and ultimately flows into the rivers.

What is sewage?

Water that goes down the drain or toilet is called sewage. This water is taken to a wastewater treatment plant and does not go directly to the river system. However, if the pipes that carry this water become blocked they can cause an overflow of sewage into our rivers.

What sort of things pollute the river?

  • Fertilisers and chemicals
  • Pet waste
  • Detergents, oils and paints
  • Fine particles you can’t always see, like dusts and microplastics
  • Garden waste like grass, mulch and soil
  • Rubbish and litter
  • Untreated sewage overflow when there are blocked pipes.

What happens when a river is polluted?

Water that is polluted can look and smell bad. It can be unsafe for people to swim or go near and can harm the things that live in the river.