Protecting Waterways

Protecting Waterways

What can you do?


  • If there is no rubbish bin around, hold onto your litter until you find one.
  • Help to clean up your local park on clean-up days.
  • Put your cigarette butts in the bin or carry a container to put them in. Many thousands of butts wash into our bays every time it rains. It can take over 100 years for a butt to decompose.


  • Wash your car on the grass to stop soapy water reaching the drain. Nutrients (eg phosphates) in the detergent can be good for the grass and it helps water the lawn. If you don't have a grass area, use a car wash station that recycles water.
  • Avoid spreading fertiliser or top-dressing on the lawn or garden when you know rain is due so it doesn't get washed off.
  • Consider using natural alternatives to pesticides or herbicides.
  • Clean rollers and brushes, used for water-based paints, on grass areas and don't wash down the drain.
  • Keep oil-based paints away from drains. Dry out unused paint and put in the bin.

Organic matter

  • Use a plastic bag to pick up your animal's droppings when you're at the park or on the street.
  • Sweep your gutters and driveways rather than hosing them. Put waste on the garden or compost.
  • Put leaves and grass clippings on the compost or use as mulch, rather than letting them wash down the drain.
  • Cover piles of sand, soil or mulch to stop them washing down the drain.
  • Plant grass where soil is exposed.

Reporting a pollution event

If you witness a pollution event or any practice that may be harmful to our waterways, please report it to Kogarah City Council as soon as possible by phoning 02 9330 9459 and speaking to Council's Catchment Management Officer.

The Cooks River Valley Association has kindly produced instruction on how to report a pollution event in the Cooks River, or indeed any of our local waterways.

See: Reporting a Pollution Incident (pdf 42KB)

A few general tips on landscaping around the home

  • Have more 'soft' surfaces outside the home rather than large areas of paving and concrete. This can help rain seep into the ground before flowing to the drains
  • Consider using 'porous' paving so that stormwater can be absorbed
  • Lawns use the majority of water needed in the garden. Reduce lawn size and save on water. Replace with drought tolerant native garden areas
  • Select a variety of lawn which requires less water, such as the new native varieties on the market
  • Use mulch on garden beds to save up to 70% of the water evaporating
  • Install drip irrigation systems
  • Only water your garden in the early morning or evening when less evaporation occurs (or as required by water restrictions in place).