The Yass Valley has been included in the ‘H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy’ program, an ACT Government initiative that aims to educate communities about how they can contribute to the long-term health of creeks, rivers and lakes in Canberra and surrounding regions.
Launched on February 20, H2OK has an initial budget of $732,000 and is part of the ACT Healthy Waterways Project, an $80 million joint initiative of the federal and ACT governments to improve water quality in the ACT and wider Murray-Darling Basin.
The program, in collaboration with Yass Valley Council (YVC), will deliver a tiered program of awareness, education, incentive and behaviour-change components at various scales to various target audiences to instill the key message of ‘only rain down the stormwater drain’.
Rebecca Widdows, Yass natural resource and sustainability officer at YVC, welcomed the program.
“It’s important we think long-term to improve water quality by taking action now,” she said.
Ms Widdows said the most common materials entering stormwater drains – leaves, bottles, coffee cups, food wrappers, cigarette butts and chemicals – were soil-washed in during rain events or by residents.
“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. Everything that goes down the stormwater drain ends up in our lakes and rivers,” she said.
A range of H2OK education and engagement activities, including artwork on stormwater drains in Yass, will support YVC’s stormwater education initiatives to help keep the Yass and the Murrumbidgee Rivers healthy.
- For more details about H2OK, including how to get involved: environment.act.gov.au/water/act-healthy-waterways/h2ok