By Nick Chartorisky - Still Creek Landcare
WATER, it’s on tap and we use it every day. It removes itself to flow downhill into storm water drains, septic tanks, absorption trenches or runs over your property into the catchment.
In our catchment it all drains into our aquifers, creeks and ultimately the river with residents depending on it for their drinking water and farmers relying on its quality for things like oyster farming. Water is the vital lifeblood of a healthy catchment.
However the way we live impacts water. Directly or indirectly, we ultimately contaminate it and once used we dump and forget it. In simple terms, contaminants come in 2 forms; Chemical and Physical. Chemically it can come from Fertilizers, Pesticides, Herbicides, Waste Oils, Fuels, Detergents Stock Manures and Septic Systems just to name domestic ones. Unfortunately we also have Industrial scale contamination in the form of illegal dumping in our catchment and once in ground it’s almost impossible to manage.
Physical contaminants like any plastic from small fragments of long forgotten buried plastic sheeting to drink containers. They all end up breaking down into micro plastics that harm the environment. Disturbed Land can cause serious siltation as does overstocking, without retention measures they both smother and pollute waterways. Water can be a problem on your properties from too much of it in the wrong place to not enough of it where you need it. In thoughtfully managing water capture, drainage, your water use and waste management you could solve your problems and make a tremendous difference to the long term health of our catchment and all who depend on it.
Solutions, they will vary as much as the land does but a good start is to maintain native vegetation along waterways as a buffer zone to filter runoff.
Still Creek Landcare monitor the water quality in our catchment and our test show the catchment cleans the water on its way to the Hawkesbury River. However we all know it’s only a matter of time before we saturate the surrounding lands with our contaminants to a level where Mother Nature can no longer effectively clean our water.
So look to your land, see where it can be improved and apply considered solutions that don’t wash your problem away into neighbouring properties or bushland and ultimately into our aquifers.