Going with the flow

Teeming with life

Many different kinds of plants and animals live in and along our creeks and rivers, including frogs, turtles and tall River She-oaks. These plants and animals have evolved to suit the conditions of their waterways such as the level, regularity and speed of water flows. Keeping these within natural limits is essential for ensuring that our water is fresh, clean and productive.

In the past, the NSW’s creeks and rivers included slow moving chains of ponds surrounded by trees, shrubs and grasses. This system provided important habitats for plants and animals and fiiltered the water making it clean and fresh.

Creeks to concrete

In urban areas, many ponds and plants are replaced with hard surfaces such as drains, footpaths and roads. When water runs across these surfaces it is not easily absorbed. This means that it runs very quickly and is not filtered for pollutants such as oil, detergents or fertilizers. When this faster moving, polluted water reaches creeks and rivers it can result in significant damage to the river banks and to the plants and animals which live in and around the watercourse.

Sharing our water

Water is vital for our houses, farms, industry and the environment. Living in a dry continent like Australia, means that there is a limited supply to meet these needs. It is critical that we make sure that enough water is left over after human use to keep the watercourses flowing and supply plants and animals with much needed habitat. Sharing our water with aquatic plants and animals is critical for their survival.

What can I do?

  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Conventional cleaning supplies contain chemicals that are harmful to aquatic plants and animals.
  • Minimise concrete in the garden. Water is more easily absorbed by lawn or mulch.
  • Use less water in the home and garden. This reduces the amount of water that is diverted from rivers, leaving more water for plants and animals.